Nun Says Church Cannot Make Up the House’s Cuts to the Poor

WASHINGTON (CNS) – Each church in the United States would have to find an extra $50,000 to replace the $133 billion in nutrition funding for the poor cut by the House of Representatives, according to Sister Margaret Mary Kimmins, a Franciscan Sister of Allegany, N.Y., and Bread for the World’s associate for Catholic Church relations.
The House cut does not include an additional $33 billion proposed by the House Agriculture Committee, Sister Margaret Mary added during an conference call with reporters.  The cuts come primarily from the Supplemental Nutrition and Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps.
The money the House would cut simply cannot be made up by individual congregations, she said.
“Some people who used to donate food are now standing in line themselves,” Sister Margaret Mary said.
In an op-ed piece in The Hill, a Capitol Hill newspaper, Sister Margaret Mary said, “There are two significant pieces of Catholic social teaching that provide a good moral context for the federal budget: charity and justice.” But the House-passed budget “seems to put all of the responsibility of charity on the churches, but churches and governments must work together to accomplish both charity and justice,” she said.
“Catholic social teaching also includes the principle of preferential treatment for poor and vulnerable people, and we must adhere to that principle if the good of all is to prevail,” Sister Margaret Mary added. It “also talks about solidarity and being at one with all of humanity, particularly with those whom Jesus calls ‘the least of these.”