Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Ryans' hope

My congressman, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), is subjected to some attempted criticism in an op-ed in today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel by the Rev. Bryan N. Massingale and John Gehring. They say,
"Ryan takes his Catholic faith seriously and has defended his policy approach in strong moral terms. But it seems he needs a refresher course in basic Catholic teaching."
This appears to unjustifiably assume that Catholics receive instruction in basic Catholic teaching to refresh. In my 16 years in Catholic schools, before, during, and after the Second Vatican Council, I do not recall any document in the corpus of Catholic social teaching ever being assigned reading. I, for one, would have thought that a better use of time in Freshman Theology at Marquette U than being repeatedly told that someone on the faculty had "proved the Holy Spirit does not exist". But I digress.

Rev. Massingale and Mr. Gehring cite the work of Monsignor John Ryan, particularly as incorporated in the 1919 Program of Social Reconstruction of the National Catholic War Council. I note, though, that this includes

"25. Until this level of legal minimum wages is reached, the worker stands in need of the device of insurance. ... The ideal to be kept in mind is a condition in which all the workers would themselves have the income and the responsibility of providing for all the needs and contingencies of life, both present and future. Hence, all forms of state insurance should be regarded as merely a lesser evil, and should be so organized and administered as to hasten the coming of the normal condition."
If social insurance ought to be a temporary measure until it can be replaced by individual savings, then Rep. Ryan appears to have a grasp of the basics.

Update: Here is the House Budget Committee - Fiscal Year 2013 Budget Resolution referred to in the op-ed.

Update 2, March 29, 2012: Peter Wehner responds to the op-ed at the Contentions blog.
"...the column by Massingale and Gehring is worth highlighting not simply for its substantive ignorance but for its moral confusion, which is at the core of modern liberalism.

"In this case, the confusion is that 'preferential treatment for the poor' is synonymous with a massive, centralized state. ..."
Is that confusion, as such, or subordination of Catholic social teaching to their own egalitarian vision of society? The latter would more clearly explain why Rev. Massingale also objected to the state Defense of Marriage amendment.

(via JSOnline)

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