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Catholics and Paul Ryan

 

KIM LAWTON (Managing Editor and Guest Host): Campaign 2012 heated up this week after Governor Mitt Romney selected Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan as his running mate. Ryan is a Roman Catholic, and with Vice-President Joe Biden on the Democratic side this is the first time that both parties have Catholics on the ticket. Ryan agrees with his church’s opposition to abortion and gay marriage, but he has generated debate in some Catholic circles for his economic views. As chief author of the Republican budget plan, Ryan supports funding cuts for many social programs. Some Catholics, including bishops, argued that would hurt the poor. Ryan’s response:

Rep. Paul Ryan (speaking April 26, 2012 at Georgetown University): “As a Catholic in public life, my own personal thinking on these issues has been guided by my understanding of the church’s social teaching. Simply put, I do not believe that the preferential option for the poor means a preferential option for big government.”

Joining me with more on this is Kevin Eckstrom, editor-in-chief of Religion News Service. Kevin, a lot of Catholics disagreed with how Paul Ryan applied his Catholic faith to his budget plan.

KEVIN ECKSTROM (Editor-in-Chief, Religion News Service): Right, and what’s interesting is Paul Ryan has been on the Catholic radar screen for a long time, and you know when the nuns on the bus went out this summer to advocate for social justice, it wasn’t a mistake that they actually stopped at his congressional office in Wisconsin. It’s interesting, because the church for the last couple of years has really put a priority on the life issues, abortion and gay marriage, and they’ve said that Joe Biden and Barack Obama are completely wrong on this issue. But in recent months, as the budget becomes a bigger issue and more in the news, they’ve really put an emphasis on the economic stuff, and they have been very pointed in their criticism of not only the Republican plan but also Paul Ryan, who was the architect of that plan. So it will interesting to watch the sort of church’s divided loyalties on this one.

LAWTON: And I have heard some Catholics say that faithful Catholics can indeed disagree on some of the economic issues. Paul Ryan talks about the Catholic principle of subsidiarity, which is not one we hear a lot in politics, but this notion that all decisions should be made at the most local level and action should be taken at the most local level possible. He uses that to justify his opposition to what he calls big government, and there are Catholics who agree with that interpretation even though others say that’s a misreading of Catholic teaching.

ECKSTROM: Right, and what the bishops are saying and what a lot of Catholics are saying is that’s fine. If you want us to do it on the local level, we’ll do that. We’ll run the soup kitchens and we’ll run the adoption clinics or whatever, but we need the government’s help to do that and don’t make it worse for us by throwing people off of, you know, making their economic conditions worse that they’re going to need more services, because there’s only so much that we can do, so if you’re going to do this fine, but don’t sacrifice the poor at the expense of the rich.

LAWTON: And some church leaders have called abortion the paramount issue and, of course, Joe Biden, while he says he’s personally opposed to abortion, certainly does favor abortion rights. And in a way the two of them, Ryan and Biden, reflect the divisions in the Catholic voters as well among these different ideological perspectives.

ECKSTROM: Right, and, you know, this is a pocketbook election. It’s all going to be about the economy and jobs and it will really come down to, you know, what people’s priorities are. I don’t know that a lot of people are going to be voting on abortion and gay marriage but a lot of people will be voting on the economy, and if they look at Ryan and say I think he’s going to possibly make it worse or he’s going to cut my Medicare benefits, among Catholics in key states like Florida, Ohio, that could have a big enough difference to actually make a difference.

LAWTON: And, indeed, Catholics have been swinging back and forth overall, showing how deeply divided they are, and in fact they voted, the majority of Catholics have voted with the one who actually won the presidency, so it will be interesting to watch.

Kevin Eckstrom, thanks as always.

ECKSTROM: Thank you.

  • Joe P

    If you are Pro-life then it means you support the social safety net for people.

  • anthony joseph lucchese

    Ryan economic plan would be cutting some entitlements that he thinks should be the responsibility of the local level to follow through on and not the U.S. Federal Govt. But the city and state levels are also in a deficit and are having their own budget crisis. (ex. IL. is in debt and the city of Chicago about 600 million in deficit)

    The U.S. government should not make it worse for the poor by cutting some of the entitlements. (as Ryan wants to)
    Job training for the poor subsidized by the U.S. government for jobs in the private sector is one way to stop this cycle of poverty and lowering the amount of people on welfare. These people want to be trained and not be looked at as freeloaders! I have been looking for a job for 8 years but I just can not afford the training for the specific job in the private sector that I need. I think that is the why Germany has a low unemployment rate , they have a training program for the German people! The way to go is JOB TRAINING CENTERS built across the nation and at a very reasonable cost to the poor and middle class and will be getting this country moving again!
    Link up the specific training with the jobs in the private sector and man you will be on the way to low unemployment! Spending hundreds of billions of dollars on 2 wars is not the way to go !!

    Comments by:
    Anthony Joseph Lucchese

  • E.PatrickMosman

    “but we need the government’s help to do that ” totally ignores the old adage “he who pays the piper calls the tune”and the results are there to see as Catholic adoption agencies in two States have ceased operation as government aid stopped. Why? The Catholic agencies refused to place children with same sex couples on religious beliefs grounds which was trumped by secular anti-discrimination laws. The government is using secular laws, regulations and rules to force Catholic charities to renounce their Catholic beliefs in order to obtain government funding or reduce or give up charitable activities. This is the ultimate goal of every socialist or dictatorial nation, the Federal government as the only source of aid and assistance. Obamacare is the prime example of the government efforts to force the Catholic Church to provide secular acts over religious beliefs or face loss of aid and huge fines.

  • E.Patrick Mosman

    I only tried to resend my comment as it has not been posted

  • E.Patrick Mosman

    Trying to post one more time.

    “but we need the government’s help to do that ” totally ignores the old adage “he who pays the piper calls the tune”and the results are there to see as Catholic adoption agencies in two States have ceased operation as government aid stopped. Why? The Catholic agencies refused to place children with same sex couples on religious beliefs grounds which was trumped by secular anti-discrimination laws. The government is using secular laws, regulations and rules to force Catholic charities to renounce their Catholic beliefs in order to obtain government funding or reduce or give up charitable activities. This is the ultimate goal of every socialist or dictatorial nation, the Federal government as the only source of aid and assistance. Obamacare is the prime example of the government efforts to force the Catholic Church to provide secular acts over religious beliefs or face loss of aid and huge fines.”

  • Channah

    Ryan yells with gusto to stop so many social services that help the poor, the old, and the children. Yet, his views on birth control tends to lead to more and more children. He does not seem to realize that less children means less possible wellfare needed. His thinking is completely in contrast to the what is what. Does he plan to take all these unplanned children in and raise them? I doubt it. Does he just plan to dump them on the street with no help at all? It sounds as if he does.

    Personally, I think Romney and Ryan are just plain scary.

  • Earl

    I would just like to say that mitt Romney did not lose, America did when they voted for Obama!
    America just could not see who the real winner was! What a shame! I guess to the world he
    just wasn’t young enough, hip enough, sinful enough, i guess hollywood just had too much
    money, and i believe it helped Obama to win, and didn’t wonderful Mr. George Clooney help by
    having a fundraiser or movie? Well be proud of yourself Mr. Clooney when things in America
    get worse, and oh by the way i won’t watch any of your movies you failed America by voting for
    a man who failed his own men in Libya!