In reading economist Paul Krugman's analysis of Catholic Republican Congressman Paul Ryan's budget proposal unveiled last week, I thought: Wouldn't it be reassuring if one of the vocal, conservative Catholic bishops -- from whom we hear so frequently and within hours of any announcement by the Obama White House or HHS on contraception, would have the courage to publicly denounce Ryan, Catholic Republican House Speaker John Boehner and others with equal speed, vigor and sting?
Then I came back to reality, had another sip of coffee and realized it won't happen.
The vocal Republican bishops are too indebted to the Republican Party on contraception, homosexuality, abortion, religious liberty and related causes to be critical of them on Ryan's budget proposal, which is so plainly hostile to Catholic social teaching, or to deny them Communion and prevent them from speaking at Catholic institutions. Ryan's budget proposal conflicts with Catholic social teaching on many fundamental levels.
Here are a couple of excerpts from Krugman's analysis:
- "For on Thursday Republicans in the House of Representatives passed what was surely the most fraudulent budget in American history. And when I say fraudulent, I mean just that."
- "[Ryan] has, however, categorically ruled out any move to close the major loophole that benefits the rich, namely the ultra-low tax rates on income from capital. (That's the loophole that lets Mitt Romney pay only 14 percent of his income in taxes, a lower tax rate than that faced by many middle-class families.)"
- "So the Ryan budget is a fraud; Mr. Ryan talks loudly about the evils of debt and deficits, but his plan would actually make the deficit bigger even as it inflicted huge pain in the name of deficit reduction. But is his budget really the most fraudulent in American history? Yes, it is."
- "What's going on here? The answer, presumably, is that this is what happens when extremists gain complete control of a party's discourse: all the rules get thrown out the window. Indeed, the hard right's grip on the G.O.P. is now so strong that the party is sticking with Mr. Ryan even though it's paying a significant political price for his assault on Medicare."
Presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, had this to say to NPR about the Ryan budget:
"I applaud it," he said. "It's an excellent piece of work, and very much needed."
The long-shot Catholic Republican presidential candidate, Rick Santorum, had this to say about the Ryan budget:
"It's $5 trillion dollars over 10 years," Santorum said. "We need 5 trillion over five years."
Ouch. As if the poor don't have enough problems as it is.
Santorum received a hat tip this weekend from U.S. bishops conference president, Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, who had this to say to James Taranto, a fawning Wall Street Journal editor:
Devout? Can one be called devout and be in such conflict with basic Catholic social teaching?
Apparently, Cardinal Dolan hasn't made the connection that Santorum is severely uneducated in his faith, especially the part known as Catholic social teaching, and Santorum's view of the federal budget is more severe than the off-the-chart Ryan proposal. Apparently, that's OK for Cardinal Dolan, because Santorum is "devout."
Advice to Dolan: Please make the connection soon and be as vocal in denouncing all of these Catholic Republicans, the Republican presidential nominees and their prominent Catholic friends who are no friends of the poor or Catholic social teaching, as you have been hammering away at President Barack Obama for the past few months.
Bishop Blaire is chairman of the bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development and Bishop Pates is chairman of their Committee on International Justice and Peace.
"A just framework for future budgets cannot rely on disproportionate cuts in essential services to poor persons; it requires shared sacrifice by all, including raising adequate revenues, eliminating unnecessary military and other spending and addressing the long-term costs of health insurance and retirement programs fairly," their letter said.
Catholics for Romney
What's interesting is the list of Catholics supporting Romney.
At a website called aboutMittRomney.com, there is a list of "Prominent Catholics with statements" in support of Romney, from people and groups including:
- Richard Guerriero, Immediate Past State Deputy, Massachusetts State Council, Knights of Columbus
- Joseph Reilly, president, Massachusetts Citizens for Life
- Thomas Patrick Melady, U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See, 1989-1993
- Raymond L. Flynn, U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See, 1993-1997
- James Nicholson, U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See, 2001-2005
- Francis Rooney, U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See, 2005-2008
- Mary Ann Glendon, U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See, 2008-2009
Apparently, even Cardinal Seán O'Malley in Boston has said this about then-Gov. Mitt Romney:
Perhaps the beloved Cardinal O'Malley should update his public statement about Romney in light of Romney's endorsement of the Ryan budget proposal.
Time will tell if these prominent Catholics publicly reverse their endorsement of Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum, given Romney's and Santorum's endorsement of the Ryan budget proposal.
Pope Benedict XVI's focus last week on schizophrenia is quite apt when it comes to Catholics for Romney and Santorum. Here's the quote from the pope:
Apparently, the "devout" Santorum is a friend of the poor in his private life, but doesn't respond to the great values of the Gospel (say, for example, those values in support of Catholic social teaching) necessary for the foundation of a just society. Ditto Paul Ryan, John Boehner and company.
And Santorum gets the hat tip from Cardinal Dolan. Oy vey.