Catholic Right Newspaper Begs Bishop to Walk Back Rebuke of Ryan
When the U.S. Catholic Bishops sent letters to the House of Representatives rebuking Rep. Paul Ryan’s federal budget proposal, Ryan responded by inaccurately arguing that the bishops who wrote the letters did not speak for the bishops as a whole.
Catholic conservative Marc Thiessen went even further, accusing Bishop Stephen Blaire of waging a partisan attack based on insufficient policy knowledge.
Last week, in an interview with Bishop Blaire himself, Joan Frawley Desmond at the conservative National Catholic Register continued the pushback. Though less accusatory than Thiessen, Desmond hit Bishop Blaire with a litany of false GOP talking points designed as leading questions. The whole exchange reads as a clear attempt to elicit a sympathetic response that dilutes the bishops’ clear critique of Congressman Ryan’s priorities and proposals.
To his credit, Bishop Blaire refused to play along. Here Bishop Blaire responds to one of Ryan’s favorite “defenses” by blasting the underlying assumptions behind it:
DESMOND: Getting back to your point that cutting revenues — taxes — results in preventing the government from carrying out its responsibilities: It would seem that there is a difference of opinion on whether Ryan’s budget proposal is actually “cutting” programs that aid the poor or just slowing spending. Is there a moral difference?
BLAIRE: You have to determine what your priorities are. If your only priority is to cut the budget, that approach is inadequate.
You might call it a balanced approach. The first question is not limiting the budget, but to ask, “What are our responsibilities?” We have to ask: “Does the budget adjust to our philosophy or does our philosophy adjust to budgetary needs?”
The budget is not just a financial document; it is a moral document: Are you cutting services to the poor and leaving the military alone?
Since the interview, Bishop Blaire has penned yet another letter condemning the GOP budget’s harmful, immoral cuts to protections for struggling families. I’m not sure how many different ways the bishops need to say it before it sinks in for Catholic conservatives.