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Catholic leaders find proposed federal budget largely fails the moral test


People walk near the U.S. Capitol in Washington May 3. President Donald Trump's proposed fiscal year 2018 budget has prompted church leaders and advocates to question the administration's commitment to people in need because of its deep cuts in social services. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)

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WASHINGTON (CNS) -- President Donald Trump's proposed fiscal year 2018 budget sent shivers through social service, education and environmental communities, prompting church leaders and advocates to question the administration's commitment to people in need.

The leaders repeated in interviews with Catholic News Service that a budget is a moral document that reflects the nation's priorities and that they found that the spending plan revealed May 23 backs away from the country's historical support for children, the elderly and the poor, and protecting the environment.

Their concern focuses on the deep cuts -- totaling $52 billion in fiscal year 2018 and $3.6 trillion over the next decade -- in international aid, senior services, health care, hunger prevention, job training, air and water protection, and climate change research. The cuts essentially are paying for a corresponding $52 billion boost in military spending.

"We say there's a human component here. It's not just about defense. It's not just about deficits," said Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development.

"Too often we think the budget is a number. It's not. Right behind those numbers are human beings and they look like you and they look like me," he told CNS.

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