PRESS RELEASE: Catholics #AskPontifex: What to Do About Fiscal Cliff?

Posted December 12, 2012

Celebrating Benedict XVI’s entry onto Twitter, lay Catholics are asking the Holy Father to weigh in on the crisis in Congress

WASHINGTON – The pope is on Twitter, thanks be to God.

Now, Catholics are taking to the social media powerhouse to ask the Holy Father what he thinks about the stalemate in Washington over the so-called “fiscal cliff.” Catholics United, a lay Catholic social justice advocacy organization, today organized a campaign to tweet questions about economic justice to the pope using the hashtag “#askpontifex,” in reference to Pope Benedict XVI’s chosen Twitter handle, @Pontifex.

“It’s an opportunity for Catholics in the pews to ask for guidance and leadership directly from the pope, and that’s something that’s truly unusual and exciting,” said James Salt, executive director for Catholics United. “We only hope that this action can help bring some humanity and compassion back into the debate. The pope, of all people, knows that we must first consider the poor and marginalized–these least among us–in every political debate. I hope Catholic politicians and people of faith are listening to his response.”

Other faith groups have agreed to join Catholics United in their effort, believed to be the first of its kind in reaching out to the Holy Father. CU members are tweeting several messages, including: “Dear @Pontifex: Congress may decimate services that help the poor. You define creating poverty as a sin—what to do? #askpontifex #fiscalcliff,” found at the link:

“When you think about the implication of allowing the laity to interact directly with the pope, it’s a pretty important day,” said Salt. “This communication could be just the first step in establishing a very much needed dialog between the Vatican and pew-sitting Catholics. We can’t wait to hear the pope’s thoughts on this and many more questions in the future.”

Founded in 2004, Catholics United, and its educational arm, Catholics United Education Fund, are non-profit, non-partisan organizations dedicated to promoting the message of justice and the common good found at the heart of the Catholic Social Tradition. For more information about Catholics United, “like” us on our Facebook page (, follow us on Twitter ( or on our blog at