Catholic Bishops To GOP: You Have A ‘Moral Obligation’ To Extend Unemployment Insurance

As Republican lawmakers hem and haw over the much-needed extension of unemployment insurance, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops are hoping they not only recognize the economic benefit, but the moral benefit of “protect[ing] jobless workers and their families.” In a letter to all House members, the bishops said, “When the economy fails to generate sufficient jobs, there is a moral obligation to protect the life and dignity of unemployed workers and their families.” They quoted Pope John Paul II, who wrote in his 1981 encyclical Laborem Exercens that “The obligation to provide unemployment benefits, that is to say, the duty to make suitable grants indispensable for the subsistence of unemployed workers and their families, is a duty springing from the fundamental principle of . . . the right to life and subsistence.”