Economic Concerns

“Society as a whole, acting through public and private institutions, has the moral responsibility to enhance human dignity and protect human rights. This does not mean that government has the primary or exclusive role, but it does have a positive moral responsibility in safeguarding human rights and ensuring that the minimum conditions of human dignity are met for all.” Economic Justice for All: Catholic Social Teaching and the U.S. Economy, United States Catholic Conference, 1986

It is the position of the Iowa Catholic Conference that government should give the needs of the poor and vulnerable special consideration.

Each and every person is created in the image and likeness of God. The dignity of the human person is the foundation of a moral vision for society and fundamental to Catholic social teaching. Because of the dignity of the human person, human rights such as housing, education and human services should be protected.

The Conference supports governmental assistance that strengthens families, encourages and rewards work, and protects all vulnerable children, born or unborn, including those with developmental disabilities. We support adequate funding for job training and child care. We also support efforts to create and preserve affordable housing units as well as rental assistance to low-income families.

The Catholic Church of Iowa is one of the leading social services organizations in the state, and we invite Catholics to offer their time, talent, and money for works of personal charity.

Economic concerns relating to families

In Catholic teaching, the principle of a living wage has long been integral to Catholic understanding of human work. Wages must be adequate for workers to provide for themselves and their families. We have a duty to work when we are able, not only so we can provide for our families and ourselves, but also to contribute to the common good through the fruits of our work. As Pope Francis reminds us, “The dignity of each human person and the pursuit of the common good are concerns which ought to shape all economic policies.”

Therefore, the Church has steadfastly upheld that workers deserve fair and just wages and benefits, decent working conditions and the opportunity to organize. A just wage allows us to develop more fully as individuals, families, and even society as a whole. (See Catechism of the Catholic Church, #2434)

A minimum wage is not the same as a living wage. However, the Iowa bishops have supported an increase in the minimum wage because of its current failure to provide sufficient resources for individuals to form and support families.

As leaders of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and Catholic Charities have said, “We write not as economists or labor market experts, but rather as pastors and teachers who every day, in our ministries and churches, see the pain and struggles caused by an economy that simply does not produce enough jobs with just wages. So many of our families find it increasingly difficult to afford basic needs, forcing some to take multiple jobs or, in desperation, even seek out predatory loans.”

1002, 2017

Bishops speak out on labor and the common good

In light of the Iowa Legislature’s debate on changes to the collective bargaining law for public employees, the Iowa Catholic Conference (ICC) has again released its statement on “Labor and the Common Good” issued in [...]

706, 2016

Reforming the payday loan industry

In early June the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) proposed new rules regulating lenders in the payday loan industry. Although the bureau is more limited than state legislatures when imposing rules on lenders, the [...]

2909, 2015

Bread for the World and ICC announce ‘Vote to End Hunger’ rally

Participants to learn how to engage candidates to make hunger a priority issue In light of Pope Francis’ address to Congress, where he said, “The fight against poverty and hunger must be fought constantly and [...]

1407, 2015

Addressing Poverty

"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the [...]

1704, 2015

Payday lending

One of the Conference’s legislative priorities is safe and fair lending practices. As Pope Francis states, “The dignity of each human person and the pursuit of the common good are concerns which ought to shape [...]

2808, 2014

U.S. Bishops’ Labor Day Statement

As we approach Labor Day, we would like to highlight the 2014 Labor Day statement from the U.S. bishops. It focuses on unemployment among young people. The statement was released by the chairman of the U.S. [...]

1507, 2014

‘Vocation of the Business Leader’ helps men and women meet the challenges of business life

“Vocation of the Business Leader: A Reflection” is designed to guide, encourage and inspire men and women as they meet the challenges of business life. Published in 2012, the 32-page document is introduced by Cardinal [...]