On COVID-19 relief, US Catholic leaders have told President Donald Trump and Congress to put aside partisan politics and help those in need.

– “Our nation’s leaders must do more”

Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, the president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), signed a joint letter to the president and House and Senate leaders September 25 alongside the heads of the Catholic Health Association of the United States, Catholic Charities USA, the National Catholic Educational Association, Catholic Relief Services, the United States Society of St. Vincent de Paul and the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities.

In the letter, the Catholic representatives urge the nation’s lawmakers “to come together now on a legislative package to address the public health and economic crisis facing our country and the global community as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic”.

“Our nation is suffering a profound crisis, with over 200,000 lives lost, 30 million Americans relying on unemployment assistance, and health care workers continuing to fight COVID-19 surges”, the Catholic leaders alert.

“For those in need here and abroad, as well as for the common good, our nation’s leaders must do more”, they warn.

– “Doing nothing or delaying only ensures more people will suffer”

The organizations writing to politicians are well-placed to judge the effects of the pandemic. As they recall in their letter, not only do they attend to the spiritual needs of some 70 million US Catholics, but they also employ over one million people in delivering health, education and charitable assistance to over 250 million people globally.

From that perspective, the organizations denounce the “devastating” impact of COVID-19.

“Families have lost loved ones in our hospitals; people are losing jobs; food insecurity has risen; staff of our respective ministries have become sick or lost their lives while bravely serving on the front lines; parishes, schools and universities have closed to keep our communities safe; and millions of people we serve around the world are falling deeper into despair”, they write.

Though the organizations say they have continued “to stand in solidarity to assist those in need” and have even upped their efforts to attend to the spiritual, health, educational, and social needs “of millions of unemployed and hungry persons and families” confronted with the “ugly face” of the pandemic, they admit that they are now at breaking point.

“Millions of American families face uncertainty as unemployment support expires, employer-provided health insurance is lost, missed rent and mortgage payments pile up, food insecurity deepens, and schools struggle”, the organizations warn.

They add that “this uncertainty is compounded by the pandemic-related financial challenges faced by charities, hospitals, parishes, schools, universities and the social safety net”.

“Now is the time for our nation’s leaders to do their part to support those in need”, the organizations insist.

Though the Catholic leaders acknowledge that there are political disagreements on how to proceed with COVID-19 assistance, they plead that “the many needs of the present situation cry out for relief”.

“Doing nothing or delaying only ensures more people will suffer”, the organizations warn.

They close their letter to President Trump and the US Congress with a heartfelt plea “to put aside partisan politics and prioritize human life and the common good by expediting negotiations to ensure not another day is lost in providing security and hope to people in need at home and abroad”.

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PhD in ancient Jewish/Christian history and philosophy. University ethics lecturer with 4 years' experience in religion journalism.