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US Military Academy cadets wait to load live shells into an artillery weapon during tactical and physical training activities, August 2020, at West Point, New York (CNS/Reuters/Mike Segar)

A group of 18 bishops has signed a letter calling for the United States to cut military spending and instead invest in ending poverty. Source: NCR Online. 

“The growing gap between the rich and the poor is compounded by a growing gap between our nation’s spending on weapons and preparations for war and our commitment to end poverty,” the statement said.

In December, the US Congress authorised a record $US886 billion ($1.35 trillion) in annual military spending, up 3 per cent from the previous year. 

Pax Christi USA, a Catholic peace organisation, led the Bread Not Stones campaign behind the letter. The campaign’s name comes from Matthew 7:9, where Jesus asks his disciples, “Which one of you would hand his son a stone when he asks for a loaf of bread?”

In a statement to NCR, Bishop John Stowe of Lexington, Kentucky, who is also bishop president of Pax Christi USA, wrote, “Pax Christi USA sees the US military budget, especially the part earmarked for weapons development, as offering stones when so many social programs in the US are underfunded, resulting in poor nutrition and hunger in our country”.

The most recent data from the US Department of Agriculture reveals that 12.8 per cent of US households faced food insecurity in 2022, with 5.1 per cent of US households reporting someone skipped meals because of lack of resources.

In 2022’s fiscal year, the US spent $US183 billion ($278 billion) on the USDA’s food and nutrition assistance programs, a 6 per cent decrease from the previous year with an adjustment for inflation.

In his January 8 speech to ambassadors to the Holy See, Pope Francis renewed a call for military spending to be diverted to a global fund to end hunger and finance development in low-income countries to prevent violence and migration, a proposal he made in his 2020 encyclical Fratelli Tutti, drawing on Pope Paul VI’s teaching.


18 Catholic bishops join letter calling for US to cut military spending (By Aleja Hertzler-McCain, NCR Online)