Am I My Brother's Keeper?

A letter by Catholic bishops on U.S. capitalism whips up a storm of controversy

Feed the hungry. Clothe the naked. Shelter the homeless. With such biblical exhortations in mind, five U.S. Roman Catholic bishops have been examining American capitalism since 1981 to see how well it conforms to their church's social teaching. In Washington last week the group presented its long-awaited—and highly controversial—findings to the annual meeting of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops.

In the first draft of a pastoral letter, the committee praised the "impressive strides" of the U.S. economy in...

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