Paul Ryan and "Social Justice"

Katheryn Jean Lopez looks at the relation between Paul Ryan’s budgetary philosophy and Christian obligations to charity:

Ryan’s bishop, Robert Morlino of Madison, Wis., gave him a vote of confidence while affirming the work of religious orders in an interview with Raymond Arroyo of EWTN: “Congressman Ryan has made his prudential judgment about how best to serve the long-term needs of the poor,” Bishop Morlino said. “He has done that in accord with Catholic principles.” The bishop made it clear that “I don’t have to approve his decision, or his budget, or anything else. What I do approve of is that he is a responsible Catholic layman who understands his mission and carries it out very responsibly. I feel very strongly about that. The details of his solution are not mine to approve or disapprove. That’s not my field.” He gently suggested that the sisters on the bus take a similar approach: “So, I would think that the religious sisters, though, should concentrate on giving that witness of holiness of all of the wonderful works that they do rather than busing around for political issues.” 

Ryan has done great good by taking Catholic social teaching seriously in his role as House Budget Committee chairman. He has engaged with bishops, priests, and laymen and shown that neither political party owns “social justice.” And at a time when the very ability of church organizations to freely live their mission of service has been compromised by federal mandates, it is especially important to debate the role of government with clarity and charity.

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