Congress Urged to Remember the Poor and Strengthen Families in U.S. Bishop’s Letter on Tax Reform


October 25, 2017


WASHINGTON—In a letter today addressed to all members of Congress, Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, called for legislators to consider bedrock moral principles as they approach tax reform. 

“The U.S. bishops have long emphasized that ‘[t]he tax system should be continually evaluated in terms of its impact on the poor,’” Bishop Dewane wrote.  Quoting Pope Francis concerning the family, Bishop Dewane stressed that “[t]hose services which society offers its citizens are not a type of alms, but rather a genuine ‘social debt’ with respect to the institution of the family, which is foundational and which contributes to the common good.”

As Congress formulates proposals for tax reform based on the “Unified Framework for Fixing Our Broken Tax Code,” Bishop Dewane’s letter articulated six moral principles that should guide lawmakers’ decisions:

  • Care for the poor;
  • Strengthening families;
  • Maintaining progressivity of the tax code;
  • Raising adequate revenue for the common good;
  • Avoiding cuts to poverty programs to finance tax reform; and
  • Incentivizing charitable giving and development.

 Bishop Dewane called on legislators to remember the poor and the common good when considering taxes, writing that “you are urged to recognize the critical obligation of creating a just framework aimed at the economic security of all people, especially the least of these.”

The full letter is available at:


Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Frank J. Dewane, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, Pope Francis, tax reform, U.S. Congress, moral principles. 


Media Contact:

Judy Keane