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Catholic Bishops Back Wis. Union Protesters

WASHINGTON (RNS) The U.S. Catholic bishops on Thursday (Feb. 24) threw their moral weight behind the pro-union protesters in Wisconsin, saying the rights of workers do not abate in difficult economic times.
“The debates over worker representation and collective bargaining are not simply matters of ideology or power,” said Bishop Stephen Blaire of Stockton, Calif., chairman of the U.S. bishops’ committee on domestic justice, “but involve principles of justice, participation and how workers can have a voice in the workplace and economy.”
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker says proposed legislation to limit collective bargaining rights for public-sector employees is necessary to close a $137 million deficit in the state’s budget, a political strategy that has since spread to statehouses in Indiana and Ohio. Union supporters have responded with massive protests.
The bishops’ support for unions came in the form of a public letter addressed to Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki, who had already said on Feb. 17 that “hard times do not nullify the moral obligation each of us has to respect the legitimate rights of workers.”
“Your efforts to share the consistent teaching of the church in the midst of this controversy are an example for all of us on how to apply our moral principles to the ‘signs of the times,”‘ Blaire wrote to Listecki.
Pope Benedict XVI and his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, were both ardent supporters of unions and workers’ associations, Blaire said in the letter.
– Daniel Burke, Religion News Service

  • Henrietta22

    The RC Bishops are right and it is good they spoke up.

  • Brandon

    Conservatives–Catholic Among them–should heed this message from U.S. Bishops and the Vatican. Taking away right from some– instead of advocating more rights for all — is not humane…

  • nnmns

    Yes, the bishops are right on this one. And I hope they press the issue hard.
    I also wish they didn’t lend so much support to the party doing its bets to take away workers’ rights.

  • Kaay

    Where is the separation of church and state? The Catholic Church has NO RIGHT to enter into this issue

  • Your Name Joan

    This information is incomplete and overstates the position of the Wisconsin bishops. Please see my article in the National Catholic Register for a more complete report.

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