Friday, April 27, 2012
Let Every Catholic Do Their Own Thing
Under fire from the nation’s Catholic Bishops for writing a budget that cuts deeply into programs that help the needy, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) defended his vision in a Thursday speech at Georgetown University. Ryan said the bishops do not have a monopoly on the truth and that every Catholic is free to understand Catholic social teachings his own way.
The speech was a response to recent criticism from the Catholic Bishops, who in an unusually large number of letters to Capitol Hill disparaged Ryan’s budget for “fail[ing] to meet … moral criteria” of protecting the poor, calling for “shared sacrifice by all” including raising revenues and considering military cuts.
Ryan made matters worse by initially arguing that the bishops’ letter did not reflect the views of “all the Catholic bishops,” to which the bishops’ official spokesperson reminded Ryan that it was indeed written by those elected to “represent all of the U.S. bishops.” No bishop has come forward in dissent from brother bishops causing many to think Ryan’s claim is made up.
While a professional politician for many years, Ryan had no record of speaking about Catholic social principles until very recently. He was known to commend and require his staff to read the writings of Ayn Rand, who mixed right –wing economics with a strident hostility to all religion. As the speaker at a 2005 dinner in honor of Ayn Rand, Ryan said, “The reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand,"
Only last year did wealthy conservative Catholics find his obvious dissent from the Church to be a problem. They drafted a letter for Archbishop Timothy Dolan. Dolan refused to endorse any of Ryan’s economic theories but did speaking kindly and pastorally that he thought Ryan was well-intentioned. Since then, he and conservative Catholic laymen have been working to promote Ryan as a more authentic teacher of Catholic principles than the bishops themselves.
Posted by Kurt at 11:03 AM