Happening Now

Statement on Debt Settlement and the Way Forward I en Español
Puerto Rico and US Religious Leaders, March 14, 2022

U.S. Poverty Statistics and Our Catholic Response

Every September, the Census Bureau releases its updated statistics on income and poverty. Understanding and utilizing this data can help guide our advocacy efforts and improve our educational outreach. Watch the webinar to learn about the statistics and what it all means for people struggling to make ends meet. For additional reference, you can also view/download the presentation slides.

Visit www.PovertyUSA.org for education on economic justice, essential facts on poverty as well as key conduits for action. Para más información en español, visite www.PobrezaUSA.org

For resources and materials for preaching, educating and advocating on behalf of the poor and jobless, please visit the Unemployment and Poverty page.


Comments on Consumer Inflation Measures
Noting that the Official Poverty Measure (OPM) plays a critical role in determining program eligibility for millions of low-income Americans, Catholic Charities USA, the National Council of the United States Society of St. Vincent de Paul, and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops submit comments in response to the proposed rule: Consumer Inflation Measures Produced by Federal Statistical Agencies published by the Executive Office of the President, Office of Management and Budget on May 7, 2019.

The Catholic bishops of the United States believe building a just economy that works for all encompasses a wide range of issues, including food security and hunger, work and joblessnesshomelessness and affordable housing, and tax credits for low-income families, as well as protecting programs that serve poor and vulnerable people throughout the federal budget.

A Catholic Framework for Economic Life (En Español)

A Statement of the U.S. Catholic Bishops
November 1996

As followers of Jesus Christ and participants in a powerful economy, Catholics in the United States are called to work for greater economic justice in the face of persistent poverty, growing income gaps, and increasing discussion of economic issues in the United States and around the world. We urge Catholics to use the following ethical framework for economic life as principles for reflection, criteria for judgment, and directions for action. These principles are drawn directly from
Catholic teaching on economic life. 

  1. The economy exists for the person, not the person for the economy.

  2. All economic life should be shaped by moral principles. Economic choices and institutions must be judged by how they protect or undermine the life and dignity of the human person, support the family and serve the common good.

  3. A fundamental moral measure of any economy is how the poor and vulnerable are faring.

  4. All people have a right to life and to secure the basic necessities of life (e.g., food, clothing, shelter, education, health care, safe environment, economic security.)

  5. All people have the right to economic initiative, to productive work, to just wages and benefits, to decent working conditions as well as to organize and join unions or other associations.

  6. All people, to the extent they are able, have a corresponding duty to work, a responsibility to provide for the needs of their families, and an obligation to contribute to the broader society.

  7. In economic life, free markets have both clear advantages and limits; government has essential responsibilities and limitations; voluntary groups have irreplaceable roles, but cannot substitute for the proper working of the market and the just policies of the state.

  8. Society has a moral obligation, including governmental action where necessary, to assure opportunity, meet basic human needs, and pursue justice in economic life.

  9. Workers, owners, managers, stockholders, and consumers are moral agents in economic life. By our choices, initiative, creativity, and investment, we enhance or diminish economic opportunity, community life, and social justice.

  10. The global economy has moral dimensions and human consequences. Decisions on investment, trade, aid, and development should protect human life and promote human rights, especially for those most in need wherever they might live on this globe.