WASHINGTON—Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, recognized the work of lawmakers passing COVID-19 relief legislation. He thanked members of Congress for their commitment to providing relief before the end of the year, when important aid from earlier COVID-19 legislation would expire, and encouraged lawmakers toward continued bipartisan progress towards the common good in the new year.
Archbishop Coakley’s full statement follows:
“Our nation continues to suffer historic health and economic crises from the COVID pandemic. Today, we are grateful for the bipartisan work that has led to an urgently needed relief package.
“I especially commend lawmakers’ efforts to ensure people have enough food to eat and a safe place to live (in some ways, more than in the CARES Act), to support workers and those who are out of work (although less than before), and to include some mixed status immigrant families in stimulus payments. There is also generous aid to students and teachers in public and non-public schools that will include meaningful help for Catholic schools.
“There are significant bipartisan achievements within this relief bill, and politicians and staff who have worked around the clock to bring this to completion should be commended. There are also important issues that Congress will need to take up at the beginning of the new year. Continued bipartisan efforts are strongly encouraged to help the millions who have lost health insurance; ensure the safety of persons in prisons, jails, and detention centers; provide foreign assistance for vulnerable people in poorer countries; provide additional state and local funding; and address the expiring relief in this new package as need continues.
“God is love, and this Christmas season we remember that he assumed our humanity to love us more closely, even in suffering and death. May we find ways to love our neighbors as the Lord has loved us, and may God grant us peace and joy to rejoice and give him thanks.”Funky Flora & Fauna Art at Wheatpaste