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Reps. Ryan, Boehner welcome Archbishop Dolan's letter on budget

Catholic World News - May 20, 2011

Rep. Paul Ryan, a Catholic and head of the House Budget Committee, and Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), have exchanged correspondence on Catholic social teaching and the federal budget.

“I deeply appreciate your letter’s assurances of your continued attention to the guidance of Catholic social justice in the current delicate budget considerations in Congress,” said Archbishop Dolan in a May 18 reply to a letter from Rep. Ryan. “As is so clear from your correspondence, the light of our faith--anchored in the Bible, the tradition of the Church, and the Natural Law--can help illumine and guide solid American constitutional wisdom. Thus I commend your letter’s attention to the important values of fiscal responsibility; sensitivity to the foundational role of the family; the primacy of the dignity of the human person and the protection of all human life; a concrete solicitude for the poor and the vulnerable, especially those who are hungry and homeless, without work or in poverty; and putting into practice the principles of solidarity and subsidiarity, here at home and internationally within the context of a commitment to the common good shared by government and other mediating institutions alike.”

Archbishop Dolan continued:

It is clear that all of this correspondence reflects recognition of the foundational principles at work. Within the given parameters of such principles, people of good will might offer and emphasize various policy proposals that reflect their experience and expertise. The principles of Catholic social teaching contain truths that need to be applied. Thus, one must always exercise prudential judgment in applying these principles while never contradicting the intrinsic values that they protect. A singularly significant part of our duty as pastors is to insist that the cries of the poor are heard, and that the much needed reform leading to financial discipline that is recognized by all never adds further burdens upon those who are poor and most vulnerable, nor distracts us from our country’s historic consideration of the needs of the world’s suffering people.

“We bishops are very conscious that we are pastors, never politicians,” Archbishop Dolan added. “As the Second Vatican Council reminds us, it is the lay faithful who have the specific charism of political leadership and decision. The high call to public service which you have nobly answered entitles you and all our elected officials to our respect and constant prayer.”

“I welcome Archbishop Dolan’s letter and am encouraged by the dialogue taking place between House Republicans and the Catholic Bishops regarding our budget, the Path to Prosperity,” said Speaker of the House John Boehner, a Catholic.

“I thank Archbishop Dolan for his leadership and guidance on how policymakers can best serve the common good of our nation,” Rep. Ryan added.

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