Presiding over the Diocese of Stockton, one of the poorest areas of the country, Catholic Bishop Stephen Blaire
sees the human costs of poverty every day. Long lines at food banks.
Homeless folks on the streets. Recently, as he does before Christmas
every year, Blaire blessed thousands of food baskets to be given to
needy local families.
But translating the church's outreach to the
poor into a political statement on poverty has proven more difficult.
As Congress ponders cuts in safety-net programs from food stamps to
Medicare to help balance the budget and avoid the "fiscal cliff," the
politically influential U.S. Conference of Bishops has been unable to
reach agreement on a statement representing one of its core values:
caring for the poor.
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