The Wall Street Journal has an article about Paul Ryan being influenced by his Roman Catholic faith when it comes to answering serious policy questions. That article is behind a pay wall, but Howard Friedman offers this quote from it:
… Ryan is a practicing Catholic who attends church regularly, takes part in a weekly prayer group on Capitol Hill and flies home on Thursday nights so he can take his children to their Catholic school the next morning. And when he debates Vice President Joe Biden this fall, each party will be represented by a practicing Catholic.
But Catholicism also grounds his thinking about politics and the basic relationship between the individual and the state. He has invoked a principle called “subsidiarity” in justifying his view that people are more apt to flourish under government that is limited in its size and reach. And he spoke out amid the church leadership’s fight with the Obama administration over its mandate that employers, including Catholic institutions, be required to provide contraception coverage in their insurance plans.
Mr. Ryan’s use of Catholic teachings has drawn criticism by others in the church who believe he is selectively interpreting religious doctrine to make a case for market capitalism.
Hey, let’s ask America’s Catholic bishops what they think about the policy with which Ryan is primarily known for:
A week after House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan claimed his Catholic faith inspired the Republicans’ cost-cutting budget plan, the nation’s Catholic bishops reiterated their demand that the federal budget protect the poor, and said the GOP measure “fails to meet these moral criteria.”
That and other strongly-worded judgments on the GOP budget proposal flew in a flurry of letters from leading bishops to the chairmen of key congressional committee…
That same day, some 60 Catholic social justice leaders, theologians and clergy also released a statement saying that “this budget is morally indefensible and betrays Catholic principles of solidarity, just taxation and a commitment to the common good.”
Tuesday’s statement from the bishops came the same day as Bishop Stephen E. Blaire of Stockton, Calif., called a proposed cut in benefits for children of immigrants “unjust and wrong.” Blaire, chairman of the bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, also decried any cuts in food stamps while preserving federal subsidies for industrial farming enterprises.
“Congress faces a difficult task to balance needs and resources and allocate burdens and sacrifices,” Blaire wrote to the House Agriculture Committee. “Just solutions, however, must require shared sacrifice by all, including raising adequate revenues, eliminating unnecessary military and other spending, and fairly addressing the long-term costs of health insurance and retirement programs.”
“The House-passed budget resolution fails to meet these moral criteria.”
If he was really being influenced by Catholic teachings on social and economic justice, he would be campaigning to end the death penalty and demanding universal health care and a strong social welfare system. He’s only influenced by Catholic teaching when it conforms to his political ideology, like when it involves abortion or gay rights; other than that, he ignores it completely.