Leading Catholics including author Frank Cottrell-Boyce and academic Tina Beattie have urged Iain Duncan Smith to rethink further welfare cuts ahead of the Government's emergency budget next week.
In an open letter published this week in The Tablet the signatories appealed to the Work and Pensions Secretary as a fellow Catholic to consider whether "excessive" benefit sanctions are an appropriate way to treat the poor and vulnerable.
"We understand that your Catholic faith is important to you, and your approach is driven by a desire to improve quality of individual lives. However, we believe that they are in fact doing the reverse," they warn.
The Government is due to announce an emergency budget on Wednesday 8 July. It is expected to announce some £12 billion of cuts to welfare payments.
The strongly-worded letter, organised by the independent think tank Ekklesia, entreats Mr Duncan Smith to enter into a dialogue with his "sisters and brothers in Christ".
As well as benefit sanctions it cites as major concerns the continuation of the Work Capability Assessment and changes to benefits for disabled people under the Universal Credit system.
"Our consciences, informed by our faith and experience in our communities, leave us with no alternative but to speak out whe we see some of the most disadvantaged people in society being harmed," they write.
To read the letter in full click here.