Mass. Bishops Urge Preservation Of Funds For Poor

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The four Roman Catholic bishops in Massachusetts have issued a joint statement calling on elected officials to preserve programs for the poor and unemployed, even amid budget cutbacks.

The statement released Wednesday said public officials face "excruciating choices" due to recent, deep cutbacks, including new cuts to social service agencies' proposed by Gov. Deval Patrick.

But the bishops asked officials "overcome" the "temptation to turn away from the growing social needs confronting our cities and towns." They said a society is more secure when it helps ensure basic needs, such as housing and nutrition.

The bishops, from Boston, Springfield, Worcester and Fall River, said their "plea" to elected officials and citizens was to keep "a special place and regard for the vulnerable" as they debate tough budget cuts.

This program aired on February 9, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.