WASHINGTON, (February 14, 1997) -- Bishop William S. Skylstad hailed the Lenten message of Pope John Paul II, devoted to the plight of the homeless, saying it "calls for effective action on the international disgrace of widespread homelessness and lack of affordable housing."
The Bishop, who chairs the Domestic Policy Committee of the United States Catholic Conference, said the Pope's message poses a special challenge to American Catholics.
"We know from our own experience in parishes and dioceses where homeless people sleep on cots in our church basements and eat their meals in our soup kitchens that homelessness and poor housing are destroying lives, undermining families, hurting communities, and weakening the social fabric of our nation," Bishop Skylstad said. "Our Holy Father reminds us of our Christian responsibility--in fact our obligation--to work with others to ensure that families have adequate housing."
Pope John Paul's Lenten message on the homeless was released at the Vatican by the Pontifical Council Cor Unum and in this country by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops.
The full texts of the Holy Father's message and the statement of Bishop Skylstad are available upon request.