Dec 132012
 

To the Editor:
John Freeland has raised questions about the priorities set by the bishops of Iowa (Iowa Catholic Conference — ICC).  A complete response would be too long as he posed several questions about complex issues, and many are federal, not state issues. Hopefully, this short version will help.
The ICC priorities are how the bishops and the ICC Advisory Board (composed of clergy, religious and lay members from business, agriculture and other walks of life) look at legislation in the Iowa legislature. The ICC is guided by the U.S. bishops’ “Economic Justice for All” and papal encyclicals such as “Caritas in Veritate.” Both document stress recognition that the moral measure of an economy is how the poor and vulnerable fare, “What you do to the least of these…”
The bishops desire just treatment for all individuals, not “entitlements” for immigrants or any special group.  While they support federal immigration reform, they do not favor weakening immigration laws as they recognize the right of nations to protect their borders and their citizens.
Much is made of the dollars associated with such things as humanitarian aid and food stamps because in comparison to family incomes they are unimaginably large. Yet they comprise a very small percentage of the total U.S. budget — humanitarian aid is about 1 percent. Food stamps are a much smaller percentage.
In agriculture, we are in a period of transition from small farms of 100-300 acres that once prevailed to grain operations of 1,500 acres or more and confinement operations for thousands of animals at each site.  The bishops’ desire is that both the smaller operators and the environment not suffer as we make these changes.
The priorities of the bishops are justice, justice for all.
Glenn Leach
St. Ann Parish, Long Grove,
former Iowa Catholic Conference Board member

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