Archbishop Dolan Tells Ryan: I’ll Believe It When I See It
Last month Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) sent a letter about his budget proposal to Archbishop Timothy Dolan, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishop (USCCB).
The Archbishop’s response arrived yesterday, and if Ryan was looking for an endorsement, he certainly didn’t get it. While Dolan’s message is full of kind words about the broad moral principles Ryan spoke about in his initial letter, it’s noticeably absent of any compliments towards Ryan’s actual proposal. Instead, Dolan refers Ryan back to the letter sent on behalf of the USCCB from fellow bishops Blaire and Hubbard–a letter that raised specific objections to Ryan’s dismantling of Medicare, Medicaid and cuts to nutrition, education and housing programs.
Dolan’s letter shows a keen awareness that there is a sharp difference between what Ryan claims his budget will do, and what it does in practice:
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…I appreciate your assurance that your budget would be attentive to such considerations and would protect those at risk in the processes and programs of such a transition. While appreciating these assurances, our duty as pastors will motivate our close attention to the manner in which they become a reality.
It’s a good sign that Ryan is thinking about the moral implications of his budget proposal, it’s an even better one that the bishops intend to keep him honest.
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