U.S. Bishop Chairman Calls for Reconsideration of End of COVID-Relief Discussions

October 7, 2020 By Public Affairs Office

WASHINGTON—Following reports that President Trump has directed Treasury Secretary Mnuchin to cease negotiations on a COVID-relief package, Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, urged reconsideration of the decision in light of the acute needs of millions of Americans for immediate assistance.

“Tens of millions of Americans urgently need help today. They need help in getting enough food, paying the rent or mortgage, finding work, affording health care, and accessing good schools. We have been imploring lawmakers since April to address these needs.

“Pope Francis, reflecting in his new encyclical Fratelli Tutti on the parable of the Good Samaritan, writes:

Now there are only two kinds of people: those who care for someone who is hurting and those who pass by; those who bend down to help and those who look the other way and hurry off. Here, all our distinctions, labels and masks fall away: it is the moment of truth. Will we bend down to touch and heal the wounds of others? Will we bend down and help another to get up? This is today’s challenge, and we should not be afraid to face it. In moments of crisis, decisions become urgent.[1]

“In this moment of crisis, let us build a society that bends down to help those in need. I ask the President to reverse his decision, and for all parties to return to negotiations as soon as possible.”

The following represent additional USCCB advocacy for COVID-relief to address gaps in, and subsequent expiration of, various provisions of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act:

  1. Senate and House Committees on Appropriations (April 9, 2020)
  2. Senate and House Committees on the Judiciary (April 9, 2020)
  3. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions and House Committee on Education and Labor (April 9, 2020)
  4. Senate Committee on Finance, House Committee on Ways and Means, and House Committee on Energy and Commerce (April 9, 2020)
  5. All members of Congress on moral framework for health care (May 7, 2020)
  6. All members of Congress summarizing all COVID-related needs (July 30, 2020)
  7. Senate and House leadership on Catholic education (August 5, 2020)
  8. President and Congressional Leadership on Additional Relief (September 25, 2020)


Media Contacts: 

Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte

[1] Fratelli Tutti, no. 70.  http://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/encyclicals/documents/papa-francesco_20201003_enciclica-fratelli-tutti.html