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Paul Ryan, bishops not in accord on budget


GOP vice presidential pick Paul Ryan will be formally introduced to the nation at next week’s Republican National Convention, and his Catholicism will emerge as an issue. The Wisconsin congressman says his faith informs his policy decisions, such as the House version of the federal budget that he authored and which is his signature accomplishment.

But some of his most prominent fellow Catholics – including the bishop of Stockton, Stephen Blaire, a national leader on social-justice issues – say that while Ryan, 42, is in lockstep with the church in his absolute opposition to same-sex marriage and abortion, his House budget fails “a basic moral test.”

“The moral failing is that (the budget) did not adequately provide for the care of the poor and the vulnerable,” said Blaire, who explained Thursday that he was critiquing the budget Ryan shepherded and not Ryan personally.
Initial critique

Blaire initially made the critique this spring as chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development for the politically powerful U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The bishops often scold the federal government for not doing enough for the poor, a cornerstone of Catholic social justice work.

The budget “was making drastic cuts in services which are very necessary at this time for the poor,” Blaire said. According to a Gallup Poll released this week, 18 percent of Americans say there have been times over the past year where they couldn’t afford to buy the food their family needed.

Blaire, who lives in the heart of one of the nation’s most-depressed regions, presides over a diocese where two cities – Stockton and Mammoth Lakes – have declared bankruptcy. He sees the region’s food banks depleted and the lines for help growing at Catholic Charities outposts.

Before Ryan delivered an address at Georgetown University earlier this year, 90 Catholic theologians and staffers at the Jesuit institution wrote to Ryan saying that his budget “appears to reflect the values of your favorite philosopher, Ayn Rand, rather than the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

Ryan pushed back against such critics in his speech, saying, “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,” he said in referring to the Catholic social principle that the interests of the poor should be primary. [More]


San Francisco Chronicle



  1. Dave Melley says:

    Ryan’s budget is not designed to cut off aid to the poor. It’s designed to lend some certainty to the process so that the wealthy can plan on stability in the future. If you don’t know what gov’t demands on you will be beyond a lame duck session, you’re not going to hire people and put the whole enterprise in jeopardy. When R&R are elected and put into effect their plans, businesses will begin to spend their resources to invest in durable goods, inventory and employees. Virtually no one has ever been hired by a poor person. That’s why R&R don’t want to repeal the Bush tax policy. Please don’t call them tax cuts. They are the rates that have been in effect now since 2001 – over a decade. To repeal them would be tax increases.
    Dave Melley

    • Florian says:

      The wealthy will never be able to plan on “future stability” because they’ve just gotta have more and more. Think of it as the poor man’s lamb syndrome. Read about it in 2 Samuel 12. Then think about it some more . . .

  2. Eileen Kovatch says:

    Interesting that while parishes in inner cities and Catholic schools are being closed for “budgetary reasons” the Bishops judge Ryan as being out of step. Did anyone read the ful article on Catholic Church finances that was posted a few days ago?

  3. Elinor Melley says:

    Doesn’t anyone get that the well is running dry and unless it is left to refill and replenish, there will be no water for anyone no matter how many times we lower the bucket. There are none so blind as those who will not see.

    • Raymond J Rice says:

      A Bishop can let a Diocese run over the cliff into bankruptsy, but Ryan does not want to see the country he loves , go bankrupt Yes bankruptsy is a moral option but one to be avoided

    • Carl says:

      Elinor, the well isn’t running dry but the flow is being constricted by Republicans who have an agenda: choke off the progressive state created (chiefly) by the Democrats, beginning with FDR.

  4. Michael Joseph Francisconi says:

    Where the jobs? / or How to invest and help no one but yourself:

    1. Collateralized Loan Obligations, Banks aggressively offer loans and then sell the debts to others. These others in turn sell the debts to still others.

    2. Stock market and currency opportunities for speculation are moving large amounts of money from one set of holdings to another. It is no longer families indentified with certain industries or the people who worked their way up from the bottom to the top and finally become owners. Now it is pure gambling in which because the size of the operations the government cannot allow failure.

    3. Derivatives. An informal agreement between two or more parties under which payments, or payoffs, are to be made between the parties often on future investments that have not yet been secured. Many investors will set up a derivative contract with another investor on debts outstanding to speculate on the value of the underlying asset, betting that the party seeking insurance will be wrong about the future value of the underlying asset. Speculators look to buy an asset in the future at a low price hoping to sell an asset in the future at a higher price. Credit derivatives are privately held negotiable bilateral contracts that are used in managing exposures to credit risks by transferring a credit risk to some one else. This is a bet that one can make money before the investment fails.

    Hedge Funds
    Hedge Funds are the use of advanced investment strategies in derivatives or leveraged investments. This is unregulated and unprotected selling securities from a third party, buying the assets and selling them back or sill another party. In order to borrow heavily then to buy still more shares to sell them at a profit. A firm with more debt than equity is leveraged. Buying up bad mortgages, in the hopes some one will buy you out, or the government will bail you out.

    Collateral Debt Obligation (CDO) this credit protection allows selling of bad credit. Failure leads to super profits if you buy debts at a fraction of their original worth and then sell them still below their original value but at profit. The last guy standing hopefully will be bailed out buy the government. Either giving you loans at such low interest rates that when things turn around you own assets now worth more than what you paid or government insures your losses.

    Think about this next time you talk to a fiscal conservative talking about paying down our debts by cutting social programs, only to give more to the financial investors, i.e. the criminals who got us into this mess into the first place.

  5. joseph Francis says:

    I dropped food off at my parish pantry last evening. Last saturday our secular Franciscan Fraternity stood in front of a supper market for hours and begged from food for the poor. I am 100% behind PAUL RYANS BUDGET. He is trying to save the nation from financial disaster.

    • Tony says:

      Joseph Francis, we usually work on the principle that the means must justify the end, As the USCCB has pointed out Ryans budget does not meet the standards of Catholic Social Teaching.
      Congratulations on doing what the Gospel and St Francis have called for, feeding the hungry.

  6. Florian says:

    Mr Ryan’s mission as the VP candidate for the GOP is, as Mitt’s and the GOP’s agent, to defuse the nuclear timebomb of Catholic social teaching and dismantle its apparatus, namely the “safety net” that is supposed to protect the poor, the vulnerable, and in fact anybody who falls victim to this rotten economy. As such, he is a vicious wolf dressed up as a Catholic sheep, all for the express purpose of (ab)using his “Catholic) credentials and prospective anointment by Cardinal Dolan on 8/30 to strip the poor of whatever he can to provide another “safety net” for the wealthy who don’t need another safety net. That’s the mega-bubble post-Randian objectivism, and it will reduce the entire American middle class to serfdom and slavery. This is a long way from the American Dream.

  7. Tony says:

    Sounds like the Nuns on the Bus got it right!!!


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