When I heard that the bishops of the USCCB in their plenary session were talking about drafting a new document on the economy and related issues, I first reaction was “OH NO! Don’t they learn from history?”
I also read this on Catholic World News:
By a 171-26 vote at their meeting on June 13, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) approved a proposal by Bishop Stephen Blaire, chairman of the bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, to begin drafting a message on the US economy.
The draft of “Catholic Reflections on Work, Poverty and a Broken Economy” will be brought to the body of bishops at the conference’s November meeting, after this year’s US presidential elections. During the discussion leading up to the vote, Bishop Earl Boyea of Lansing criticized the committee’s opposition to the budget plan put forward by Congressman Paul Ryan. “There have been some concerns raised by lay Catholics, especially some Catholic economists, about what was perceived as a partisan action against Congressman Ryan and the budget he had proposed,” Bishop Boyea said in reference to the USCCB committee’s opposition to the House budget plan. “We need to be articulate only in principles, and let the laity make these applications … It was perceived as partisan, and thus didn’t really further dialogue in our deeply divided country.”
[NB:] “I’m not sure that we have the humility yet not to stray into areas where we lack competence, and where we need to let the laity take the lead,” he added. “We need to learn far more than we need to teach in this area. We need to listen more than we need to speak. We already have an excellent, fine Compendium [on the Social Doctrine of the Church].”
Following his remarks, Archbishop Allen Vigneron of Detroit called upon the committee to place greater emphasis on the “disintegration of the family” as a factor in the breakdown of the economy. Echoing Bishop Boyea’s comments, Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City said that the committee is “at times perceived as partisan” and needs to consider the principle of subsidiarity, which has been “neglected in past documents.” Archbishop Naumann added that solutions that place emphasis in enrolling people in government programs have been “tried for decades” and failed. “We need to talk about the debt and the real seriousness of that debt,” he continued. “Sometimes we’re perceived as just encouraging the government to spend more money with no realistic way of how we’re going to afford to do this.”