Why do NM’s Catholic bishops oppose dignity of work, training for SNAP benefits?

Yesterday Paul Gessing of the Rio Grande Foundation posted a great piece addressing the incorrect stance that New Mexico Conference of Catholic Bishops (NMCCB) have taken in regard to SNAP benefits.

After reading the NMCCB’s statement I was reminded of a scripture, which helped influence the John Smith in early days of Virginia at a time when some were more interested in pleasure-seeking than surviving the coming winter:

“This we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.”  II Corinthians 3:10

Mr. Gessing addresses the inconsistencies in NMCCB’s reasoning over SNAP in the piece below which I have cross-posted from his website Errors of Enchantment.

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By Paul Gessing of the Rio Grande Foundation:

The Catholic Church in New Mexico seems to be more consistent in its advocacy for bigger government than it is in truthfully explaining public policies enacted or proposed by the State’s political leadership. Check out this statement on the Martinez Administration’s proposed changes to SNAP/food stamps from the New Mexico Conference of Catholic Bishops. To summarize the Bishops’ statement: they’re opposed in part because New Mexico’s terrible economy isn’t generating enough jobs for people who The Governor’s proposed changes would restore some kind of work requirement or require job training or community service for certain recipients of food stamps. As detailed by Capitol Report New Mexico, these requirements hardly require all food stamp recipients to get a job:

The rule won’t be forcing young mothers to abandon their toddlers. It won’t apply to disabled people who use food stamps, or the elderly.

The only people affected will be able-bodied adults between the ages of 18 and 59. Teenagers 16 and 17 who get SNAP benefits have to prove they’re in school or in a jobs training program.

According to HSD spokesman Matt Kennicott, if you’re a single parent with a child younger than 6, you’re exempt.

If you are receiving unemployment benefits, you’re exempt.

If you’re a college student — even if you’re only in school part-time — you’re exempt. Pregnant women are exempt.

If you have a low-paying job, you don’t have to apply for a better-paying job to keep your benefits.

If you’re a single parent with a kid older than 6, you have to prove you’re looking for a job but you can skip the jobs training and community service requirements.

Set aside the public policy value of having New Mexicans take proactive steps to find work or improve themselves in order to receive government benefits…you know, “Give a man a fish, he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he’ll eat for life.”

The Bishops’ statement appears to directly contradict statements from Saint (Pope) John Paul II and a recent statement from Pope Francis (Without Work, Human Dignity is Wounded):

It is necessary to reaffirm that employment is necessary for society, for families and for individuals”, said the Pope. “Its primary value is the good of the human person, as it allows the individual to be fully realised as such, with his or her attitudes and intellectual, creative and manual capacities. Therefore, it follows that work has not only the economic objective of profit, but above all a purpose that regards man and his dignity. And if there is no work, this dignity is wounded! Indeed, the unemployed and underemployed risk being relegated to the margins of society, becoming victims of social exclusion.

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