DALLAS TWP. – The relevance of the 1987 U.S. Bishops' pastoral letter "Economic Justice for All" will be the topic of a discussion Thursday at Misericordia University.
Bishop Joseph Bambera of the Diocese of Scranton will be the keynote speaker at the 7 p.m. event that is free and open to the public.
Timothy Kearney, Ph.D., assistant professor and chair of the university's business department and moderator of the discussion, said the document still resonates 25 years after it was written.
"The one point that really jumps off the page is jobs," he said of his rereading of the letter.
The economic climate back then was "not a heck of a lot different" than today, he said.
The bishops at the time felt the high unemployment rate of 7 percent should not be accepted as the new normal, he added.
It's gotten worse, however, as the nation struggles to emerge from the Great Recession.
In July, the national rate stood at 8.3 percent and has not changed much since January, according to the most recent jobless data from the U.S. Department of Labor.
The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre region's rate of 9.6 percent was the highest in the state among major job markets in July.
The Catholic Church is not out of place in commenting on economic issues, Kearney noted. The bishops take on the subject as teachers, not as technicians, he said.
Also taking part in the program are Margarita Rose, Ph.D. professor and chair of the Department of Economics at King's College and Joseph Curran, Ph.D., associate professor and chair of the Department of Religious Studies at Misericordia.
After the discussion, members of the audience can ask the panelists about their individual presentations or aspects of the letter.
Misericordia University will host several speakers, including Bishop Joseph Bambera of the Diocese of Scranton, to discuss "The U.S. Bishops' Pastoral Letter: Economic Justice for All After 25 Years."
The event Thursday will begin at 7 p.m. in Lemmond Theater in Walsh Hall.
It is free and open to the public.