Archbishop Dolan has a post on his blog that attempts to balance the damage done by Republican use of his cordial response to Congressman Ryan.  While the Archbishop offers a clear articulation of Catholic commitment to the common good and the preferential option for the poor, and very nicely yokes subsidarity to solidarity, the blog still refuses to use any forceful language against the Ryan Budget or Ryan and Congressman Boehner's use of Dolan’s letter to imply support for their policies. 

Thus, the post continues to soften the much clearer statement of principles and policy evaluation offered by Bishops Blaire and Hubbard in their letters to the House and Senate regarding the budget. The president of the USCCB always has the ability to draw the media spotlight away from the work of the committee chairs. 

The Archbishop desires to present his stance as non-partisan, but many in the pews will find his response comfortably supportive of Republican lip service to Catholic Social Doctrine.

Archbishop Dolan is more than able to summon pointed and direct language against public policy.  He described President Obama’s decision to cease defending DOMA as an “alarming and grave injustice.”  Such words are certainly applicable to Ryan’s budget, which deepens the deficit with trillions in new tax cuts for the wealthy then requires the poor, the vulnerable, and the middle-class to pay for the bulk of its deficit reduction.  It ends Medicare, and radically cuts Medicaid, the Women Infants and Children nutrition program, and food stamps.  Poor and disabled citizens will die from lack of medical treatment.  Children will starve.

Archbishop Dolan argues that the bishops’ public witness to the fullness of the faith pleases neither party, and indeed it shouldn’t.  He lists each party’s preferred elements of Catholic Social Doctrine italicizing subsidiarity and solidarity as the fundamental principles around which they gravitate.   (I’ll offer some reflections on the use and misuse of subsidiarity in another post.)

This attractive vision of the bishops’ trans-partisan witness focusing on the principles of Catholic social doctrine is frequently invoked.  It is one that I genuinely and desperately hope to see.  Alas, this vision is seldom, if ever, enacted in real life.

On matters concerning abortion, and now marriage, the bishops are quick to react and don’t shy from direct public confrontation.  In 2008, when Nancy Pelosi opined on her understanding of the Church’s teaching on abortion in the patristic period, a sharply worded correction was issued within 48 hours signed by the chairs of the USCCB committees on Pro-Life Activities and Doctrine.

Under Cardinal George, the USCCB waded fully into the weeds of policy interpretation and lobbied heavily against passage of the Senate version of the Affordable Care Act.  Experts in the field were skeptical of their legal interpretation.  But even as they publically argued against the legislation around the clock and lobbied Rep. Stupak and others to reject a compromise based on an executive order, no public pressure was brought to bear on Catholic Republicans in the Senate, who could have easily provided the votes to include the Stupak amendment in the Senate bill, and voted for cloture to allow Democrats to pass it. 

One side always receives loud, pointed, public criticism; the other always gets a free pass. 

Rep. Paul Ryan, feeling heat from the political backlash against his budget sent a public letter to Archbishop Dolan offering a Catholic apologia for a budget inspired more by Ayn Rand than Leo XIII, or John Paul II.  The Archbishop was careful to not endorse the budget, and offered several corrections of such genial subtlety that only the most-good willed and optimistic experts could detect their presence.  The bulk of the letter is filled with cordial language.  The Archbishop “appreciates,” “commends” is “grateful,” and trusts this is but the “beginning of an ongoing dialogue.”

The Bishops’ response to Speaker Pelosi’s misrepresentation of Church teaching was appropriate.  They briefly clarified the Church’s teaching citing chapter and verse from the Catechism.

One wonders why so different a response to Ryan.  The budget is fundamentally at odds with Catholic social doctrine.  He has publicly argued that it is consistent with it and has brazenly drawn the President of the USCCB into his efforts to do so.  Why no chapter and verse from the Catechism and the Compendium? 

If the bishops were willing to wade deeply into the policy details of the Affordable Care Act, and indeed publicly reject very plausible alternative interpretations offered by respected legal scholars with prolife credentials, why no willingness to offer a specific, public evaluation of this budget proposal?  

Prudence is not enough to justify the difference.  Prudence has a very important and underappreciated role, but these budget numbers are stark.  If prudence can be used to justify this budget as a legitimate enactment of the principles of Catholic Social Doctrine, then prudence is meaningless.  It can be used to justify anything.

This cannot be reduced to a matter of politics.  This disproportionate witness to different elements of Catholic Social Doctrine leave the laity—including politicians—profoundly ignorant of the full doctrine of the Church.  Nothing in the bishops’ response to Ryan or Boehner communicates to them that they might have any need whatsoever for catechetical make-up work.  The bishops are failing them and the rest of the Christian faithful by not effectively teaching the fullness of Catholic faith and morals.

Archbishop Dolan’s vision of trans-partisan witness to the fullness of Catholic Social Doctrine is a good one.  It would be a profound grace to the Church and to American society if it were exercised.

Comments

HAROLD ISBELL | 6/4/2011 - 11:48pm
As I live and learn, while I live and breathe:

under date of 25 May 2011, the AARP released  a press release referencing a letter to each and every member of the U.S. Senate. The p/r was titled "AARP to Senators: Reject Budget Proposals that Could Harm Critical Medicare and Social Security Benefits [...] Measures that rely on arbitrary spending limits could jeopardize seniors' health and financial security"
charles mitchell | 6/3/2011 - 1:35pm
No politician would ever write a public letter to a church official asking for ''validation'' of a plan like this without first confirming that the responce they were going to recieve was a positive one. To do otherwise would be a HUGE and unnecessary political risk. Catholic doctrine aside, this exchange indicates that Archbishop Dolan is behaving more like a political partisan than a church official. The moral authority of the church is being spent like a cheap campaign contribution.
david power | 6/2/2011 - 7:34pm
Fantastic comments from David O'Brien.
 As a political orphan though I take exception.
Surely the Gospel leaves us in no other position?
Open to correction on this. 
Here in Italy the Church is running a campaign to get tax money and the slogan is 
"we do so much good for others ,if you dont believe  us ask them"
Did Jesus weep?Yes,Jesus wept!
I might point out that it comes from the Italian bishops and not from the man in white who would no doubt spot the heresy a mile away!   
Anonymous | 6/2/2011 - 4:03pm
"I can only hope that the bishops provide the help he speaks of. As far as Archbishop Dolan is concerned, he is indeed in a leaderhip position among his fellow bishops, and he certainly could have more clearly articulated Catholic social teaching, without offering any suggestions on what particular solutions would be appropriate, that is clearly not his role."

But you see, this is the whole problem.  You look at the comments and see him failing to lay out the fairly clear (in your view) position of the Catholic Church; I look at his letter and see him responding to a very complex situation on which Catholic teaching is NOT as clear as you suggest.  Vice Versa with respect to abortion: Pro-life Catholics see a clear teaching (you cannot support (or even be netural on) Roe and be Catholic), while pro-choice Catholics emphasize the grey-ness of the whole area.

So at what point do we just step back and say we're looking at these issues through our own partisan lens?  This is why I'm so troubled at the tendency for progressive Catholics to label Ryan a "hypocrite" or (as on COmmonweal) a "liar".  We're awfully close to equating our own political commitments with Church teaching (and that's true in other contexts as well, such as abortion).
DR DAVID OBRIEN | 6/2/2011 - 1:47pm
Thanks to Vincent Miller for his respectful pastoral correciton of Archbishop Dolan. We need to help our Bishops recover their capacity to speak in a "transpartisan" way on behalf of the whole church, that's all of us. Karl Rahner once argued that it is posiible in the name of the faith to confront an evil and insist on our responsiboility as Chrisitans to take action to address that evil, but it is not possible to say in the name of the faith what that action should be. He said it about evils, but the same could be said of positive moral imperatives like peacemaking, the option for the poor and the common good. These non-negotiable ideals are built into Christian faith, but it is hardly clear how we are to live them out in personal or public life. Some Catholics we respect carry nonviolence into direct action in the midst of our wars; others, in military service, kill and die on our behalf; still others lead the Congress and direct the CIA. All are called to do the right thing, but we all need help deciding what is the right thing to do. At our best, in church, we can help each other make those judgments, as we did when we talked to each other about race, abortion, nuclear war and economic justice in the 1980s.  That was a lot better than slipping into alliance with one faction or celebrating political homelessness as if it were a virtue. We will always differ about what we ought to do, but together, with the bishops' help, we can enable each other to do better.   
Anonymous | 6/2/2011 - 11:29am
"What angers me about Dolan's reponse is the tone of his letter; it is deferential and equivocal. He can be otherwise on other issues; why not here?"

Because different issues require different treaments.  This is clear in Catholic teaching.  The question of how you fix Medicare is an incredibly complicated issue, and perhaps Dolan realizes that vitriolic rhetoric accusing Ryan of a being a hypocrite is not necessarily the most productive way to engage on THIS particular moral issue. 

Progressives objecting to Ryan and to Dolan's response appear to be doing on so based on Ryan's Ayn Rand statements; that's fine I guess, but it is a mistake to conflate some of RYan's proposals with Randian philosophy.  For example, his so-called "voucher", is one variation of a type of plan called "premium support".  All these plans call for means-testing the program and requiring wealhier recipients to pay more of their own health care (is that morally objectionable?).  Many of these premium support plans were first proposed by (Catholic) Democrats John Breaux and Bob Kerrey, and most recently by Pres. Clinton's budget director, Alice Rivilin (who worked with Ryan on some proposals). What this shows is that there is a diversity of opinion with respect to how to curb the growth of MEdicare costs which is the single biggest budget buster.  With respect, you're not talking about whether or not human life is given the protection of law.

Finally, there are lots of Catholics who would disagree with the assertion that the Bishops treat pro-choice Catholics more harshly than people like Ryan; see the hubbub over Card. O'Malley's attendance at Ted Kennedy's funeral, or the view that many have of Cardinal Wuerl (I don't agree with these views, just pointing them out).
JOHN SULLIVAN | 6/2/2011 - 10:41am
Never characterized Ryan's proposal as "abandonment of the poor". Those are your words, not mine. Medicare, by the way, is for middle class, not the poor. If you take a careful look at Ryan's proposal for medicare, you will see that for those younger than 55, he would allocate a fixed amount for each individual annually for health care- a voucher. The problem is that what happens to those who can not make up the gap between the allocation and the cost of care? That seems like a rational concern.

Your suggestion that Mr. Lyon's reponse be expanded into a cover story for America is interesting. The late Daniel Patrick Moynihan certainly spoke eloqeuntly about the insidous effects of dependency, and rationally by the way. That would be a good starting point for a cover story.
Anonymous | 6/2/2011 - 10:18am
Mr. Lyons,

Your response should be made a cover article in America Magazine.

Mr. Sullivan,

I did not get from Paul Ryan numerous speeches or news appearances, what you call a voucher system or an abandonment of the poor on medical care when elderly. Maybe we could get a rational blog article on this instead of the scare rhetoric this one represents.  Here is a video of what he espouses


http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ErX5YXc2K2I#at=20
JOHN SULLIVAN | 6/2/2011 - 9:57am
Can we put aside all the rhetoric-this is not about Republican v. Democrat. We can all agree, I hope, as Christians we have a duty to repond to the least among us, and God knows there are plenty who fall into that category. Afterall, we are stewards of what we possess, and are suppose to share what we have with those in need. The rub is how we go about doing what is necessary to fulfill that obligation. There is no theoretical formula for doing such; however, in most societies there is a collective reponse to these needs i.e. government, or for many Catholics the annual donation to CRS, Catholic Charities etc. Is this the most efficacious way to respond? I think so only because of the magnitude of the need
Ryan is not the devil incarnate, and  probably has all good intentions. However, I disagree with his solution for "fixing" medicare because what he is proposing is a voucher system which, in my judgement, will be devastating to those who will not have the resources to meet their health care needs.

What angers me about Dolan's reponse is the tone of his letter; it is deferential and equivocal. He can be otherwise on other issues; why not here?
Anonymous | 6/2/2011 - 9:20am
It's gratifying to know so many of us 'get it' and those who don't are in such denial that they're reduced to sputtering talking points rather than making counter-arguments.

But it's sad that the editorial slant of this blog are among those who don't get it and base their theology on their politics and their politics on talking points, not principles that can be articulated and defended.

To wit, if we are to "love the poor" what's better - to continue to drive them into utter and complete dependence on the welfare state where by their entire lives become totally dependent on 'wealth transfers" from some Americans who they're encouraged to hate as "rich" via an all wise and all powerful bureaucracy which manages their housing, food, education, security, transportation, health care, retirement, recreation, etc. even while the entire edifice of state teeters on the brink of financial ruin? Is eternal dependency nice? Is that what we're supposed to do as Catholics: create a permanent underclass utterly dependent on our political party as sugar-daddy? While nursing grudges and pitting one group against another to terrorize these captives into our tender mercies?

Or is it more Catholic and loving to attempt to wean untold millions of our fellow citizens and other poor off this totalitarian dependence on government before the hard crash of cuts comes down the pike due to simple mathematics of unsustainable compounding interest vs. diminishing growth rates?

Michael Moore and others SAY we have plenty of money, it's just being hoarded by "the rich" which he excludes himself and other prominent liberals but includes any Republican or Independent. Well fine, show us where the loot is stashed Mike and you'll win the argument.

But to just assert it and then demand a piece of the pie is foolish. 49 million people on food stamps. Unfunded municipal and state pensions totaling well over $1 trillion. Municipal and State deficits of $1 trillion, and then the Federal government's $14 trillion of claimed debt, on top of $1.5 trillion of annual deficit, and the coming $105 trillion unfunded liabilities for all the utopian programs those who claim to love the poor set up for us..... will definitely lead to a total collapse - and in that scenario, who, pray tell, benefits? The oligarchs, not the middle class or the poor.

Just game out the mind-set of an evil oligarch and see if it doesn't match reality: if you were a sinister evil person who hated and feared minorities and you knew such an economic collapse was nigh, what would you do to minimize their ability to challenge your supremacy that's different from what has been done in the past 40 years? 

You'd want them all in the same, cramped geographic location - dependent on government housing, transport, etc. for their livelihood etc. You'd want bread and circuses, failing schools and chemical/lifestyle addictions keeping them focused on smoke and mirrors. You'd want them unarmed (for their own good of course). You'd want them terrified of those who live in the suburbs and filled with loathing for any who would offer help from beyond the plantation of your tender mercies. You'd want their vote every 2 years, and would pay well but on the cheap since dependents are always less expensive and threatening to power mad folk than uppity indepedents. 

You'd want their population to be either stable or in decline and all the while you'd be telling them how blessed they are to have you as their great protector from the barbarians in the suburbs who are a hair trigger away from the hoods and burning crosses. 

You would call yourself the great lover of the poor - whom you created and sustain as poor forever - and speak of any who preach independence as utterly cruel, greedy and meanspirited. 

You would create a Detroit or Flint while claiming to be 'for the poor' and deny that life is even possible on one's own apart from bureaucratic ministrations. 

You'd have talking points....but no evidence that your ideas and actions actually 'help the poor'.   
Tom Maher | 6/2/2011 - 12:50am
The author does not accept that the United States has a urgent national debt crisis?  Why did the IMF semi-annual staff report of April 2011 say that the United States had no credible plan to deal the its debt crisis and that the United States needed to reduce entitlement spending which continues to grow year after year three times faster than the economy?  

Are we to believe that the author knowns better than most economist and fianancal experts that the United States national debt urgently needs to reduced the 14.4 trillion national debt which is now over 90% of the United States' Gross Domestic Product? 

Bishop Dolan wisely does not want to interject abstract speculations by Catholic theologans on how the economy and the federal budget ought to work.  The author  clearly has no sound economic basis to declare what the United States budget should be be.  The author apparently thinks we should ignore the complexities and hazards of our  dire economic siduation by applying regid, preconceived  principles of "Catholic social doctrine" from some theological cookbook.

The author is too certain that Paul Ryan should be condemned by Bishop Dolan. But how to finance the federal governement is not so clear cut especailly when the original 2012 budget would be financed by barrow 40 cents for every dollar of expenditure.   1.6  trillion dollars would have to be barrowed which is more than 10 percent of our GDP.   Raising taxes by over 10 percent of GDP would stall out the economy further and likely cause another recession with even more unemployement.  Barrowing 1.6 trillion would push the barrowing to over 100 percent of GDP, an unsustainable amount.   Either way barrowing and/or rasing taxes does not work to lower our national debt as a percentage of GDP.  Spending reform is needed to lower the ration of national debt to GDP  while keeping the economy growing and creating jobs.

Lacking sound economic basis for forming a budget can lead to a default on our national debt just like Greece, Ireland and Portugul.  Paul Ryan has pointed out his aim is to prevent default of our national debt and to generally reform programs so this will never happen. Ryan points out that the poor will be the first and the hardest impacted by default of our national debt.  But everyone and everything will be severly impacted if the United States defaults on the national debt. 
Anonymous | 6/1/2011 - 11:15pm
'' If he had the intestinal fortitude to say what needed to be said, it would alienate the Wall Street ''


But if as some say Dolan is pushing a Republican agenda then he would be alienating the Wall Street crowd who have been in lock step with the Democrats for over 20 years.  Many people assume that Wall Street is a Republican thing but that stopped a long time ago when stocks became unprofitable except to underwrite them.  They make their money on bonds and the Democrat send hundreds of billions/trilliona their way.  Wall Street is not unhappy with monstrous deficits because they will get a substantial cut of any financing necessary.  They are more scared of what Ryan and Boehner are trying to do, restore some sanity into the economy. 
Helena Loflin | 6/1/2011 - 7:09pm
When did greed, heartlessness and selfishness become Christian virtues?

During the 1980s.  Something about making your weaknesses strengths and making your opponent's strengths weaknesses.  All perfected by Rove in the late 90s and forward to the present.

As for the Republican bishops, they faithfully nurture their party.

Follow the money.
david power | 6/1/2011 - 5:41pm
"many of us seem to believe our Catholic faith can be lived vicariously by virtue of our political opinions!"

Bullseye.



Anonymous | 6/1/2011 - 4:42pm
Has it been established then that Catholic social teaching absolutely calls for the current levels of funding for Federal, State and local government funding of the various bureaucratic programs for "the poor" such that a penny less is automatically a sin and a penny or billion more is automatically morally praiseworthy?

I didn't think so.

It has been asserted that that's the case. But waving ones hands and shouting doesn't make it so.

Similarly, the Church doesn't preach as a doctrine that only the state can help the poor or that the state has the primary moral responsibility for the poor's welfare. On the other hand, the state does have responsibility and if a given program or group has spent X trillions over Y decades obstensibly to solve Z problems of poverty and yet there's zero evidence of fewer poor people and less of a problem.... why would it be sinful to question the efficacy or wisdom of such programs?

Being "for" someone else being taxed and someone elses' money being spent to help your poor neighbor isn't the same moral thing as you personally helping them. Similarly, being against the government taxing one neighbor to help another isn't the same moral act as you refusing to help the poor neighbor yourself. Yet so many of us seem to believe our Catholic faith can be lived vicariously by virtue of our political opinions!
John McGuinness | 6/1/2011 - 3:03pm
Whatever one's opinion on the efficacy of the executive order, I don't think anyone believes that the executive order was preferable to including the pro-life provisions in the Act itself.

My point is that the reason these provisions were not included is that a sufficient number of Democratic Senators (including Catholic Senators and some claiming to be pro-life) opposed it.  They were willing to sacrifice ACA in order to prevent the pro-life language.  

It is true that Republicans could have also provided the necessary votes by voting for cloture on a Stupak-included bill, and they did not.  My understanding is that they were opposed to the act based on their ideological stance on the proper role of the federal government.  They may be wrong on that.   

But it seems to me that opposing ACA for ideological reasons tied to the proper role of government is a less egregious act than opposing a specific amendment to that act to prevent abortion funding, particularly when doing so put the entire Act in jeopardy. 
JOHN SULLIVAN | 6/1/2011 - 2:32pm
What's your point John? Do you recall the solution to that impasse? Obama's executive order prohibiting federal expenditures for abortions.
JOHN SULLIVAN | 6/1/2011 - 9:08am
Why be surprised by Dolan's reponse to Ryan's agenda. If he had the intestinal fortitude to say what needed to be said, it would alienate the Wall Street crowd and you would not need the Waldorf for the Al Smith dinner. Faithful witness is counter culture, not to be found in the chancery.
david power | 6/1/2011 - 7:34am
David,

You paint a convincing picture but I am not sure they are as bad as you make out:)
I also disagree that the Pope has a black heart.
In the end it is the Church of Christ and He will transform it in His own way.
I am convinced that the bishops love moral posturing as most people do.
Catholic social doctrine is a sometimes complex thing and I think that some people confuse it economically with socialism.
JOHN SULLIVAN | 6/2/2011 - 2:44pm
Mr. Landry, I appreciate David O'Brien's insightful comments and agree. I can only hope that the bishops provide the help he speaks of. As far as Archbishop Dolan is concerned, he is indeed in a leaderhip position among his fellow bishops, and he certainly could have more clearly articulated Catholic social teaching, without offering any suggestions on what particular solutions would be appropriate, that is clearly not his role. I woud also put these discussions in the context of Cardinal Bernardin's emphasis on the absolute value of all human life from conception til death- ''seamless garment of life".

How to fix medicare is complicated, but let's no fix it on the backs of those who can be hurt by deprieving them good medical care. Premium support plans, with wealthier citizens paying more, sounds reasonable. Most Americans want a fair and reasonable solution to the debt problem. Demonizing government and the disdain for public programs expressed by some on this blog will not get any closer to solving problems. My sense is that the average individual is feed up with the fringe elements, both left and right, in the Church or in the public square.
John McGuinness | 6/1/2011 - 12:15pm
Can someone please point me to the posts at <i>America</i> and similarly situated publications criticizing Catholic Senate Democrats like John Kerry, Claire McCaskill, etc. and pro-life Senators like Harry Reid for rejecting the Stupak language in the Senate bill?
Anonymous | 5/31/2011 - 5:51pm
An interesting analysis, but I find Dolan's actions to be consistent.  The Bishops are clear that abortion is a fundamental moral issue, and as such, has a narrower world of morally acceptable policy options, and therefore they take a harder line.  Thus, I do not think it is possible to hold that one can remain "neutral" on Roe as law but argue that taking actions to reduce abortions are sufficient.  While concern for the economic impacts on the poor are pro-life, the world of morally acceptable policy options is wider, so that one can hold, I believe, that reforming Medicare along Ryan's proposal, or trimming government spending (does the fact that Ryan proposes $6 trillion while the President proposes cutting $5 Trillion really change the moral analysis that much?), or simplifying the tax code rather than hiking rates is prudentially preferable without violating Catholic principles (or being a Randian, for that matter).  The name of the game in this area is, I believe, economic growth, and there is certainly more than one way to skin that cat.

Whatever our preferred method, I don't think it helpful to imply that those who find some good in Ryan's plans are paying mere "lip service to Catholic Social Teaching."  If that is the kind of rhetoric the author would to see from the bishops, a rhetoric that assumes the worst intentions on the part of those with whome we disagree, then count me a skeptic.
John Barbieri | 5/31/2011 - 5:02pm
The bishops don't seem to realize that the pedophile scandal and other fiascoes like the foolishness in the Phoenix, Arizona, hospital case have left them with a greatly reduced moral authority. To be taken seriously, the bishops must lead by example.
Pronouncements, no matter how well intentioned, just won't be taken seriously anymore.
MARK POTTER | 5/31/2011 - 4:28pm
If nothing else, I am grateful that the proposed Ryan budget has provided American Catholics with an opportunity to wrestle with the implications of Catholic social teaching for public policy in the US.  Miller is right to note the urgency and prophetic witness that the US Bishops speak with when it comes to issues of abortion and gay marriage - in pointed contrast to the much more muted, diplomatic, and downright congenial tone of the current President of the USCCB on the budget.  The Ryan budget would be a disaster for struggling families - and with unemployment and the effects of the economic recession still so poignantly affecting the majority of Americans, subsidiarity-driven charity is not likely going to replace the national safety net that the Ryan budget will eviscerate.  I'm disappointed that other bishops have not spoken out on this topic with the moral courage and prophetic witness that we know they're capable of...
Terrence Tilley | 5/31/2011 - 8:56pm
I find Vince Miller's analysis cogent. The bishops have become enthralled with the Republican agenda. While I am deeply appreciative of Abp Dolan's attempts to develop a balanced view, the fact of the matter is that the Republican proposal really does undermine the commitment to social justice that is characteristic of Catholic Social Teaching. 

Miller's remarks are hardly hyperbole. Children are already starving and poor and disabled folk who cannot get adequate medical services are in trouble. Charitable institutions contribute as they can to individuals in trouble, but they are inadequate to deal with those structural evils from unemployment to the social disadvantages of inadequate education that afflict us. It takes national programs and state programs to address issues that cannot and will not be addressed by local programs and charities. That is subsidiarity in action.

I do not like criticism of bishops. But when they are so soft as to be taken advantage of by folk like Ryan and Boehner, their refusal to stand as strong for life beyond the womb as well as within it deserves a prod to encourage them to get a stronger backbone for a consistent ethic of life. 
Anonymous | 5/31/2011 - 8:11pm
''The budget is fundamentally at odds with Catholic social doctrine.''


Maybe Representative Ryan is more in sync with Catholic social justice than the author is.  One can not just wish certain things to happen because they are nice objectives, one has to provide a rational framework to make these objectives happen.  Paul Ryan is trying to do that and what the author wishes will end up hurting the poor even more than they have been hurt by the current economic crisis which was caused by trying to implement social justice. 
david power | 5/31/2011 - 6:55pm
"I'm disappointed that other bishops have not spoken out on this topic with the moral courage and prophetic witness that we know they're capable of..."

Mark ,Prophets suffer for their words and there is not a sinlge bishop in the USA if not the world prepared to suffer for anything.They read from the script.The poor are simply their opportunity to play good cop. 
If the Pope told them in the morning that capitalism was not rampant enough they would run with that.They are simply playing their part.
Tim Dolan has nothing relevant to say about anything and is just pegging his role as an American bishop with what goes on in the media.Simple as.
If an American bishop had courage he might have said that beatifying a "peado pimp" was sacrilege.But no ,they all kept quite and had their day in the sun and then waited to play politics when the time was right.
The bishops will always play slave morality when it comes to economics and then indulge in a little master morality when they come to Rome.
In my opinion Paul Ryan is a man of limited experience and christians would be better served with the instincts of Obama.
America will see far better days and people will easily forget that it was unity that was the virtue.      

ron chandonia | 5/31/2011 - 6:50pm
Poor and disabled citizens will die from lack of medical treatment.  Children will starve.

It would be a whole lot easier to see this critique of the archbishop's response as ''transpartisan'' itself if it were not marred by such obvious hyperbole.
Anonymous | 5/31/2011 - 6:28pm
Nobody seems to mention the immorality of the elderly who want to push their children and their grandchildren under the proverbial ''don't take away my Medicare'' bus.