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Sister Doreen Glynn, CSJ, Province Justice Coordinator, Makes Statement at Nuns on a Bus Gathering
STATEMENT OF SISTER DOREEN GLYNN, CSJ, JUSTICE COORDINATOR FOR THE ALBANY PROVINCE OF THE SISTERS OF ST. JOSEPH OF CARONDELET, CONCERNING THE PROPOSED RYAN BUDGET
August 16, 2012
I come to this gathering ("Nuns on a Bus") today as a member of a Religious Congregation, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, founded in France more than 350 years ago to minister to the poor, the sick, the imprisoned and the lonely; that is, in the language used in our early documents, “the dear neighbor without distinction.” Those early documents charged us to do all of which women were capable to serve the poor and suffering. We have been faithful to that vision since our beginning. Indeed, we came to the United States in 1836 at the invitation of the bishop of St. Louis, to work with those who were on the margins of society without a voice; i.e. the “deaf and mute.”
As Catholic sisters, “nuns,” followers of Jesus, our spirituality calls us to use the Sacred Scriptures, the Gospel of Jesus, to guide us in the way in which we live. As Jesus had a special love and predilection for the poor, the sick, the outcast, we, too, move among them to love and care for them. However, that is not enough. The teachings of our Church say we are to read the signs of the times, examine current societal situations under the light of the Gospel and, where there is injustice, to act to effect change. Our Church teaches not only a personal spirituality, but also has a body of social teachings that guides us. That is why today you find consecrated women religious using their voice, their talents and resources, to work together for systemic change--to get at the root of the problems and work to transform the systems. It is not enough to feed the hungry and shelter the homeless. Certainly, we must do that; there is no question! However, we must also raise our prophetic voice to those in power, to those who make laws, to those responsible for governing and use our corporate power to call them to consider the common good when enacting legislation. Our mission includes being involved in economic justice issues.
Today, what is uppermost in our minds is the devastation that will be done through the budget cuts proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan and passed by the U.S. House of Representatives. These cuts will drastically hurt the poor and the vulnerable. We stand with our bishops on this issue. In April the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops sent a public letter to the House of Representatives saying that the federal budget must “protect poor, vulnerable people.” The bishops said that these cuts are “unjustified and wrong.” This proposed budget fails to meet society’s moral obligations toward “hungry children, poor families and vulnerable seniors.” Other faith leaders of diverse denominations, as well, have condemned the Ryan budget as “immoral” and “irresponsible” for cutting safety-net programs while protecting the ultra-rich members of society from shared sacrifice.
The Ryan budget takes us in the wrong direction. It calls for deep, austere spending cuts and unfair tax credits that benefit the wealthiest one percent of the population and big corporations. It decimates vital services for working families and seniors; it lays the groundwork for slashing Social Security. Economists say that this budget would likely worsen the chasm between haves and have nots, redistributing wealth from the lowest to the highest income Americans.
We, Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, say there is an alternative. We join our voices to those of other faith leaders who have created the “Faithful Budget,” and we urge the members of Congress to study this document and consider it an alternative to Rep. Ryan’s proposed budget.
Our faith traditions place people who are impoverished and marginalized at the forefront of concern. The current fiscal debates, at their heart, are a struggle for the soul of our nation and its moral conscience. I end by quoting from the following statement released by Faithful Budget Campaign:
“As communities of faith we have long believed that the budget is a moral document and we judge each proposal not by the arbitrary fiscal support it provides, but rather by the human impact it holds. A Faithful Budget protects the common good, values every individual and lifts the burden of the poor. In light of all the religious comments around the budget debate, we hope members of Congress will look at the Faithful Budget and make an honest effort to build a more just society and a healthier world.”