Catholic Leaders to Congress: Promote the Common Good, Raise the Minimum Wage

Congress can promote the common good and contribute to a more just society by ensuring the federal minimum wage promotes family formation and stability, said Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski of Miami and Dominican Sister Donna Markham, Ph.D., in a letter to Congress, on July 27. Echoing Pope Francis’ repeated calls for an economy of inclusion, Archbishop Wenski, chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Sister Markham, President of Catholic Charities USA, said that “[a]n economy thrives only when it is centered on the dignity and well-being of the workers and families in it. As pastors and service providers, we see every day the consequences when society fails to honor this priority.”

"Because the federal minimum wage is a static number and does not change, each year it becomes more difficult for low-wage workers to make ends meet," they added. That means, they said, that the federal minimum wage does not support family formation and stability among low-wage workers, which increases demand for social services like CCUSA and reliance on the social safety net to make ends meet. "Indeed, recent research suggests that about three-fourths (73 percent) of those who receive public benefits come from working families, meaning they or a family member is employed."

Advertisement

Wenski and Markham coted Saint John Paul II, who wrote in "Centesimus Annus" (no. 15) that “society and the State must ensure wage levels adequate for the maintenance of the worker and his family, including a certain amount for savings. This requires a continuous effort to improve workers' training and capability so that their work will be more skilled and productive, as well as careful controls and adequate legislative measures to block shameful forms of exploitation, especially to the disadvantage of the most vulnerable workers."

They concluded: "Protecting low-wage workers and promoting their ability to form and nurture families are shared responsibilities and critical to building a more equitable society. One way Congress can contribute to this shared work of promoting the common good is by ensuring the federal minimum wage promotes family formation and stability."

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
norman ravitch
2 years 9 months ago
Supporting families is a worthy biblical admonition. Raising the minimum wage may or may not be the best way. It is time for Christians to stop exploiting the bible for partisan purposes. But this has always been done, at least since people were encouraged to read the bible. I wonder if reading the bible without knowledge and insight is really a good thing.

Advertisement

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

The Holy Spirit might be the forgotten person of the Holy Trinity.
James Martin, S.J.May 21, 2018
Pope Francis walks past cardinals as he leaves a consistory in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican June 28, 2017. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
Pope Francis is trying to ensure that those who elect his successor are humble men committed to “a church of the poor and for the poor.”
Gerard O’ConnellMay 21, 2018
James Martin, S.J. discusses this groundbreaking exhibition with Andrew Bolton, Curator in Charge of The Costume Institute and C. Griffith Mann, Michel David-Weill Curator in Charge of the Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters, The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 
America StaffMay 21, 2018
Archbishop Matteo Zuppi (Photo/Community of Sant'Egidio website)
Archbishop Matteo Zuppi of Bologna calls Father James Martin’s book ‘Building a Bridge’ ‘useful for encouraging dialogue, as well as reciprocal knowledge and understanding.’
Matteo ZuppiMay 21, 2018