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Bishop Blaire, Rep. Ryan explain differing stands on federal budget

May 04, 2012

Bishop Stephen Blaire, who heads the US bishops’ justice-and-peace committee, has been critical of the federal budget proposal advanced by Rep. Paul Ryan. Ryan, who is Catholic, has argued that his budget reflects the influence of Catholic social thought. The National Catholic Register draws both men into further discussion in companion interviews.

Bishop Blaire says: “It’s not so much that we are criticizing the Ryan budget; we would be critical of any effort to reduce care of the poor.” Congressman Ryan emphasizes: “This is a matter for prudential judgment left to the laity to exercise their discretion. People of good will can disagree on these things.”


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  • Posted by: unum - May. 05, 2012 9:23 AM ET USA

    To take the remarks of dagbat and sarsok a step further, since the bishops have become CEO's and politicians, they have forgotten that the people of God include the laity, and that we are a force to be used to show society the love of Christ. But the bishops are so busy managing their corporations, like Charities, hospitals, etc., and telling Congress what to do that the laity are forgotten. As they say in sports, "We're ready to play, coach. Put us in the game!"

  • Posted by: - May. 04, 2012 11:10 PM ET USA

    With all due respect to Bishop Blaire, the Bishops need to get over their out-dated Americanized brand of Catholicism that seeks to reshape the Church along political lines. After more than fifty years after the Second Vatican Council’s decision to vernacularize the Church in order to reinvigorate it and make it more “current”, the Church has not accomplished any of its key goals. Just the opposite - Catholic church attendance down, marriages down, divorces up, broken families up, number of new priests and nuns down, abortions up, number of poor and needy up, number of lost Catholics up, number of high profile pseudo Catholics in public opposition to Church teachings up, use of contraceptive drugs up, sanctity of the family under siege, definition of marriage under attack, and the list goes on. It is time for the Bishops to reject their Americanized Catholic model and get back to Catholic basics. As a first step they must get out of American politics and start focusing on their real job – morality, to lead and defend the flock spiritually. The Ryan budget is nothing more than a secular government document that has nothing to do with morality, although Rep. Ryan’s thesis is correct - that reducing the huge government deficit is morally consistent with Catholic objectives since it will save the very safety net programs that are being debated. Rather than government budgets and other secular issues, the Bishops need to focus their energies and public pronouncements on the major morality issues that directly affect the Church and its teachings. One recent area that meets this test and where the Bishop’s have boldly voiced their concerns is the HHS mandate which attacks religious liberty forcing Catholics and Catholic Institutions to act contrary to their religious beliefs and conscience. The Bishops must continue to hammer away on this and not get sidetracked taking public positions on secular issues having nothing to do with Catholic morality or attacks on the Church.

  • Posted by: sarsok8679 - May. 04, 2012 7:42 PM ET USA

    Bishop Blaire should know it is not the role of the American government to take care of the poor. It is if any organization, it is the role of the Church, and many clerics in the Church are projecting their responsibility on to the federal government. Then they wonder why the government is intruding on their health care plans! Governments rarely do anything right, why give them more to do wrong? Just look at the war on poverty which ended up being a war on black families.