NCR: Of Rosa DeLauro and Other Disoriented Catholics

George Weigel effortlessly destroys so-called “Catholic” opposition to the Ryan budget, specifically from quarters that can’t get it right on the culture of life, much less on basic economic principles:

Now, to make matters worse, here is Paul Ryan, a congressman of uncommon intelligence who can ably argue the public-policy implications of Catholic social doctrine and who understands that what the Church asks of a just society is the empowerment of the poor: breaking the cycle of welfare dependency and unleashing the creativity the Church believes God builds into every human soul.

Ryan is the dissenting Catholic’s worst nightmare, and his demonization from that quarter has just begun. Ryan is a big boy, though, and he’ll fight his corner well. That argument might even lead to some consensus about empowerment-based anti-poverty strategies and fiscally responsible social-welfare policies among serious Catholics of both political parties.

Read it all.

The number of leading lights within the faithful remnant of Catholicism are running intellectual circles around the half-hearted socialists who put their political religions in front of their Catholic faith.  Ryan’s key points this morning at Georgetown University drove it home — you can’t steal from the future and call that prosperity.

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2 Responses to NCR: Of Rosa DeLauro and Other Disoriented Catholics

  1. Dan says:

    You may want to consider the possibility that some of the Catholics you attack so casually may be far more in line with the teaching of the Catholic church than Congressman Ryan is. Well meaning though he may be. This may be inconvenient when you are trying to reconcile church teaching with some of your political views, but questioning one’s own assumptions and motivations is a very healthy thing. And it usually results in a far more honest case being made by the individual going forward. And one that is more persuasive because it is both more honest and more consistent.

    I always thought it rather odd for Congressman Ryan (or any Catholic for that matter) to base his economic or political views on the works of Ayn Rand. Not because she was an atheist. Not even because of her open hostility toward the church and religion in general. But because so much of her philosophy is completely antithetical to what the Catholic church teaches us.

    As a young man, I read an encyclical issued by Pope Leo XIII in 1891 called Rerum Novarum. If you have not yet read it I highly recommend it to you. It is much easier to find then when I first read it. Easily accessible on the Vatican website. It is, in my opinion, a wonderful starting point for the development of a political and economic philosophy that is consistent with the Catholic faith.

    The church being the very conservative institution it always has been you will read through several pages of the encyclical condemning the evils of socialism. Pope Leo didn’t want anyone to mistakenly think he was endorsing socialism. But then the Pontiff teaches us about the MUTUAL responsibilities of labor and capital. Something that, I’m sorry to say, seems like an alien concept to far too many 21st century Republicans. The Pope also taught us that it is the proper role of the state to promote social justice through the protection of rights.

    At any rate, it is a real shame that Congressman Ryan didn’t choose from among the many great minds that the Catholic church has produced when looking for a touchstone for the development of his political and economic philosophy. He would have been far better served than by looking to the crackpot philosophy of an atheist writer of mediocre fiction who was openly hostile to the church. Instead of requiring his poor staff to read Rand he might want to pick from among the many Catholic scholars who offer something much more worthwhile for their reading list.

    It might also help keep his faith and his politics far more attuned to one another.

  2. Shaun Kenney says:

    Interestingly enough — your first paragraph aside — I completely agree with everything you’ve said here.

    Rerum Novarum and Catholic Social Justice theory are favorite topics of mine… and yet, you’ll find that Leo XIII and subsequent popes all uniformly rejected socialism. Efforts to conflate socialism with Catholic social theory falls flat at every turn… and it has little do to with the “conservative” nature of the Church. Rather, it has much more to do with a rejection of political systems and an embrace of true faith and charity over false faith and material handouts.

    I completely share your antipathy with Ayn Rand. Weigel’s critique of DeLauro remains very apt, for the same reasons you cite in criticizing the more objectivist leanings of Ryan — political Catholicism is not Catholicism at all.

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