ThinkProgress provides this, but goes on to focus on the repartee between Sr, Simone and somebody I've never heard of and don't want to hear from again. Feel free, of course, to read all about it.
I'd rather focus on Sr. Simone's prepared remarks, of which I will only point out an excerpt or two. This post is here mostly to get you to read the whole thing:
I come to this topic of contributing to a Progress Report on the War on Poverty as a Catholic Sister rooted in the Christian Tradition. Our Pope Frances recently stated that “The measure of the greatness of a society is found in the way it treats those most in need, those who have nothing apart from their poverty!” But this is not just Pope Frances. Pope Benedict and every Pope before him for the last 125 years has also challenged governments to exercise their responsibility in ensuring that the least in a society are provided for.
Reducing poverty is important – but we have a growing body of research documenting what I see every day across the country: assistance programs also help stabilize families and provide pathways to opportunity. Programs that help families put food on the table and a roof over their heads, that mean the difference between someone getting health care or going without, that help students go to college and young children go to preschool don’t just help families make ends meet and avoid destitution. They help children go to school ready to learn and stay in one school rather than moving from school to school because their housing is so unstable. They help children get the health care they need. They help parents focus on parenting, not finding the next place to live because eviction is around the corner. They help young people and nontraditional students alike get more education and skills so they can make it in this increasingly competitive global economy.
There has been much said in recent weeks about the need for people to work. Often overlooked is the fact that most households that receive SNAP and include a non-disabled adult do work while they receive SNAP – and a very large share, more than 8 in 10, work in the year before or the year after they receiving SNAP.5 That said, there are many people who have great difficulty finding work, particularly during the recession and its aftermath. In my experience, most people who are out of work desperately want a job. And, while we need to do all we can to help people find and keep jobs, we must also show basic compassion and ensure that our neediest neighbors have enough to eat.
But, at the same time, poverty remains too prevalent. Too many children’s futures are shortchanged because of the circumstances of their parents. Too many adults are out of work or underemployed. Too many people lack access to health care. We won’t address these problems by ignoring the successes of today’s safety net, but neither is today’s safety net adequate – we need a new commitment to reduce poverty and promote opportunity.
This commitment for me is rooted in my Catholic Faith and Jesus’ demand that if we are to follow in His way, we must respond to those in need not just out of charity, but also in justice. Our faith tells us that individuals and their governments have a responsibility to act on behalf of the common good. This is what it means to live our faith.
In a pluralistic society I know that not all share this same faith mandate. But what I know is that what we do share is in the Constitution. It is the framework for our democracy. In that context we as a society have tried to combine public and private efforts to address the poverty that challenges too many families. We have made some progress. But our programs are not perfect. But the framers of our Constitution called on We the People continually to strive to form a more perfect union. That is what we must do if we are to lighten the yoke of poverty and provide a true path to prosperity. Successful programs must be enhanced because people need their support. Finally, as the interfaith community acknowledges in the Faithful Budget, We the People must responsibly raise revenue to pay for these important programs. That is the faithful and patriotic way forward.
I've been reading comments in other places denigrating religious belief; the usual mindless idiots, frankly. I have to confess (it is good for the soul) that remarks like this, in part, make me want to go "Nyaa-nyaa, booya, your criticism of religious people sucks!" That's entirely childish, of course; but sometimes I get tired of playing the grownup. Still, the focal point of the Think Progress post is worth repeating here, starting with the comments from the Congresscritter not to be named 'round these parts:
“What is the church doing wrong that they have to come to the government to get so much help?”She sank his battleship!
Campbell shot back, “Justice comes before charity… Everyone has a right to eat, and therefore there is a governmental responsibility to ensure everyone’s capacity to eat. Love and care makes a difference, but the issues are so big there isn’t sufficient charitable dollars there.”