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A .,./. vv/Amp Ai wo, ” “””!: 001 111111, .* ,.,11111MIP,,… ONE I t % . A”:3?;.:4f.t;’.1….::::::.:::N.T…:ttv.’ ,..%11:1:4.74.-4.::40.;.-19.4:4:-::::::f.::.7;:::::!:!:.f”.::1 1:-1-7.4%;1*-:– 111 22 FEBRUARY 22, 1985 The Bishops’ Letter Economic By Greg Moses College Station IN A SHOWCASE of the American dream you will find a snow-white arrangement of glitter and polish. The furs are thick, the beds are soft, and the machines are purring. A minidisk provides audial reproduction of “Acres of Diamonds,” a popular speech by nineteenth-century Baptist minister Russell Conwell: “To secure wealth is an honorable ambition, and is one great test of a person’s usefulness to others. Money is power. Every good man and woman ought to strive for power, to do good with it when obtained. . . . I say, get rich, get rich!” Waking the American dreamer is a messenger who reminds us the rich are wise in their own eyes, the wealthy failed to see Lazarus in his time of need, and, according to further scriptures, we will be judged by our concern for the poor, the powerless, and the alien. It is time for the messenger to arrive. For the past four years a number of U.S. Catholic bishops have been evaluating the American economy from the perspective of Church teaching. In a preliminary document released last November, the bishops declared an urgent need for a “new cultural consensus that all persons really do have rights in the economic sphere and that society has a moral obligation to take the necessary steps so that no one among us is hungry, homeless, unemployed or otherwise denied what is necessary to live with dignity.” Readers of the Texas Observer will find the bishops’ letter on “Catholic Social Teaching and the U.S. Economy” useful for two reasons. First, the Biblical approach to social responsibility what the bishops call “solidarity” is refreshing and helpful to Christian citizens who may have forgotten over the past five years that the Bible does address the plight of the poor and the powerless. Second, the bishops have compiled a wealth of empirical and bibliographical information on the eco Observer contributor Greg Moses is a freelance writer living in College Station.