Bishop Robert Morlino Affirms Paul Ryan's Effort to Apply Catholic Social Teaching
Where intrinsic evils are not involved, specific policy choices and political strategies are the province of Catholic lay mission
"Vice Presidential Candidate Ryan is aware of Catholic Social Teaching and is very careful to fashion and form his conclusions in accord with the principles mentioned above. Of that I have no doubt.A Catholic conscience can never take exception to the prohibition of actions which are intrinsically evil. Nor may a conscience well-formed by reason or the Catholic faith ever choose to vote for someone who clearly, consistently, persistently promotes that which is intrinsically evil. However, a conscience well-formed according to reason or the Catholic faith, must also make choices where intrinsic evil is not involved. How best to care for the poor is probably the finest current example of this."
Republican Vice Presidential Candidate Paul Ryan
CHESAPEAKE, VA (Catholic Online) - Last weekend I attended the Norfolk, Virginia Rally where Mitt Romney introduced Paul Ryan as his running mate. I wrote an article entitled "Romney Goes Bold: Pro-Life Catholic Paul Ryan Chosen as Republican Vice Presidential Candidate." I suggested that some would quickly attempt to spin the positions of this good man as inconsistent with Catholic Social teaching.
By Monday the effort had begun. Hecklers at the Iowa State Fair demanded that Paul Ryan "stop the war on the poor". The same phrase hecklers used on April 26, 2012 when the Congressman gave an address at Georgetown University. At Georgetown he said "there are some Catholics who for a long time have thought they had a monopoly of sorts. not exactly on heaven, but on the social teaching of our Church.Simply put, I do not believe that the preferential option for the poor means a preferential option for big government." For many on the left, those were fighting words.
In June of 2011 Cardinal Timothy Dolan and Congressman Paul Ryan exchanged letters. The Congressman explained the rationale behind his economic proposals within the framework of a sincere effort to apply the principles found within Catholic Social Thought. He cited the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church throughout the letter referring to both the obligation of solidarity and its application in light of the principle of subsidiarity.
I suggested that the exchange of letters signaled the liberation of Catholic Social Thought from some who seek to use it as a proof text for their own political agendas. Now, Paul Ryan is the nominee of the Republican Party for the second highest office in the Nation, Vice President. The liberation has begun. This man not only knows Catholic Social Doctrine, he actively seeks to integrate the principles it offers into his own public service and the policy proposals he offers.
Groups such as "Catholics United" are leading an effort to disparage the Vice Presidential candidate by claiming that, as a Catholic, he does not support the social doctrine of his own Church. This assessment is not only inaccurate; it constitutes calumny, which the Catechism of the Catholic Church condemns. (CCC#2477).
The arguments "Catholics United" and other politically left leaning opponents have with Paul Ryan comes down to their disagreement with his economic policy positions. They have a right to disagree. Simply do so with charity and honesty.
Catholic Social teaching is not "left" or "right", "liberal", "conservative" or "neo-conservative", Democrat or Republican. It confronts what Pope Benedict properly called the "Dictatorship of Relativism" even before he assumed the Papal office. It insists there are unchangeable truths which are revealed by the Natural Law, can be known through the exercise of reason and should inform the social order in every just society.
At the foundation of those truths is the dignity of every human person at every age and stage. To be Pro-Life is NOT to be "single issue" in your political positions; it is about having a world view. It is the dignity of the human person which requires a respect for every human life whether that life be in the first home of the womb, a wheelchair, a jail cell, a hospital room, a hospice, a senior center or a soup kitchen.
Another one of these truths is that marriage is between one man and one woman, intended for life, and ordered toward the bearing and raising of children in the family. Marriage is not some social construct which can be redefined by courts or legislatures. It is the foundation for family and family is the first society, first church, first school, first economy, first government and first mediating institution. The first community which humanizes and civilizes all of us is the family.
Another is that all human persons created in the Image of God are created for relationship and called to human community. We can never fully experience human flourishing outside of social relationships. These relationships are perfective of our human person because we are by nature - and grace - made for these relationships. Catholic Social Thought does not begin with the individual but with the family. The social doctrine affirms our obligation in solidarity to one another. We are our brother/sister's keeper.
The social doctrine rejects a notion of "freedom" which begins and ends with the isolated, atomistic, person as the measure of its application. Authentic human freedom must be exercised within a moral constitution. We will only grow in freedom when we choose what is good and what is true. Otherwise "freedom" becomes a counterfeit and enslaves us, as individuals and as nations.
The social doctrine offers principles to help us order our economies. It does not propose any ...
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