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U.S. bishops' ‘Economic Justice for All’ at a glance
Source: Catholic News Service
Published: Monday, November 10, 2008
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WASHINGTON (CNS)—Here at a glance are the highlights of the pastoral letter "Economic Justice for All," approved by the U.S. Catholic bishops in 1986.
- Expresses a "preferential option for the poor" and says that fulfilling the needs of the poor must be "the highest priority" of economic policy.
- Says economic rights are fundamental human rights, as much as are freedom of speech and religion.
- Emphasizes family life and education, and says the impact on the family must be a basic norm for evaluating economic policies and decisions.
- Calls for reform or replacement of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade because of their inability, the bishops say, to deal with world economic problems.
- Calls employment "the most urgent priority for domestic economic policy."
- Urges development of anti-poverty policies which will strengthen family life and enable the poor to have a share in and power over economic life.
- Urges national policies to revitalize family farms.
- Calls for a "new American experiment" of equitable participation by all in the country's economic life.
- Recommends a hike in the U.S. minimum wage to make up for the loss in buying power since 1981. (Editor's Note: In 1986 the minimum wage was $3.35. Between 1990 and 1997, Congress raised it four times. It remained at $5.15 an hour until 2007, when Congress raised it to $5.85 and agreed to hike it to $6.55 in '08 and $7.25 in '09.)
- Focuses on the life, ministry and example of Jesus rather than simply the content of Jesus' teaching in formulating its approach to Christian ethics.
- Is accompanied by a brief pastoral statement communicating to Catholics the basic message of the lengthy pastoral.
To accompany the pastoral, the bishops also approved a $525,000, three-year follow-up plan to implement it on the national and diocesan levels.

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