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Monday, November 05, 2012

Will Chairman Ryan Go To Hell? Bishop Blaire May Think So

And he may very well. After all, who here really knows his heart? But if he does, I'm sure it won't be because of the budget.
CRISIS - We interrupt the presidential campaign to raise this pressing question. Back in 1969, Bill Buckley sent my parents a hilarious book—not his, but his sister’s. Alo├»se Buckley Heath was mother of ten rambunctious and inquisitive children, one of whom asked her, some 48 Octobers ago, if Tommy Major’s mother, who lived next door, would go to Hell because she planned to vote for Lyndon Johnson.

The outcome of that saga will have to wait—but a similar rumination comes to mind today. The Chairman of the House Budget Committee, vice-presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), insists that he respects and embraces Catholic social teaching when drafting legislation. Yet, for over a year, Mr. Ryan’s budget proposal has been roundly condemned by a prominent successor to the Apostles. Since the “Ryan Budget” slows the rate of growth in taxpayer-funded social programs, Rep. Ryan has been repeatedly attacked by Bishop Steven Blaire of Stockton, California, brandishing the widely-respected brand name of the USCCB, where he chairs a committee. Bishop Blaire calls Mr. Ryan’s budget cuts (sic) “unjust and wrong” and asserts that they fail to meet “moral criteria.” His condemnation has been gleefully trumpeted by the religious left, with Georgetown University faculty members, Maureen Dowd, and Al Sharpton in the lead.

Recently, several bishops have come to the defense of Mr. Ryan—not endorsing his budget, but affirming his right as a layman to exercise the laity’s specific “charism of political leadership and decision,” as Timothy Cardinal Dolan, citing Lumen Gentium, wrote to the congressman in May 2011. Since then, Catholics both lay and clerical have fruitfully unearthed and explored the distinction between issues involving moral absolutes which bind the informed Catholic conscience, on the one hand, and the freedom of the faithful to differ on approaches to prudential issues, on the other. For Bishop Robert C. Morlino of Madison, Rep. Ryan’s ordinary, the first category addresses “intrinsic evils,” while the second comprises issues “where intrinsic evil is not involved. How best to care for the poor,” Bishop Morlino continues, “is probably the finest current example of this.” continue reading...

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