From Bishop Zubik of the Diocese of Pittsburgh –
With my fellow Bishops throughout the United States I urge our representatives in Congress to consider the moral and human consequences of their decisions concerning the most vulnerable among us, especially unemployed workers and their families.
When the economy fails to generate enough jobs we as a nation have a moral obligation to help protect the life and dignity of those who have lost their jobs, and the children, spouses and elderly parents who depend on them.
Therefore, I strongly urge members of Congress to assure continuing Unemployment Insurance and Emergency Unemployment Compensation to protect jobless workers and their families.
The median length of joblessness has reached 10 months, and economists estimate that there are over four job seekers for every opening.
Pastors in our Diocese tell me of more and more families coming to our churches, looking for help in paying rent, in meeting their heating and electric bills and in putting gas in their car or paying bus fare. The lines at our parish food pantries are getting longer and longer. Parishioners who once donated canned food now queue up to receive it. I am deeply concerned that without unemployment benefits more and more families will be plunged into permanent poverty, never able to climb out again.
In my Pastoral Letter The Church Sharing!, I invited everyone to participate in the Divine activity of sharing. While our sisters and brothers are looking for work, we need to share resources with them to meet their basic human needs.
Pope Francis reminds us. “The Gospel invites us to be open to others, to share with the poor.” For these reasons, I ask men and women in Congress to dedicate themselves to finding ways to extend Unemployment Insurance and Emergency Unemployment Compensation.