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Deal Hudson and Paul Ryan vs. The U.S. Catholic Bishops

August 14, 2012, 2:09 pm | Posted by Nick Sementelli

Analyzing the Catholic dimensions of the 2012 Presidential race now that Paul Ryan has joined the Republican ticket, Catholic conservative Deal Hudson attempts to minimize the critique of Ryan’s budget plan levied by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Hudson decries that media who covered the critical letters from the USCCB failed to note that they came from only two bishops, suggesting that their concerns only represent some bishops, not all.

That’s the same defense Ryan employed when questioned about the bishops’ rebuke earlier this year. Unfortunately for both Ryan and Hudson, the conference definitively shot down their excuse.

Responding to reporters who inquired about Ryan’s apparent discrepancy in understanding, the USCCB said:

“Bishops who chair USCCB committees are elected by their fellow bishops to represent all of the U.S. bishops on key issues at the national level. The letters on the budget were written by bishops serving in this capacity.”

While there might be individual bishops who disagree with these committees’ criticisms of the Ryan budget, they (and Hudson and Ryan) do so as dissenters from the official position of the U.S. Catholic Church.

Photo from the National Catholic Reporter

5 Responses to “Deal Hudson and Paul Ryan vs. The U.S. Catholic Bishops”

  1. Ted Meehan says:

    Ryan’s budget was the first serious attempt to reform the Medicare program in a way which might salvage it rather than have it collapse like its European counterparts.

    President Obama’s budget proposal received exactly zero votes in the Democratically controlled Senate (which hasn’t passed any budgets for nearly four years). Obama, by the way, cut Medicare by $740 Billion. What do the bishops say about that?

    Ryan’s budget also refrained from mandating the Catholic Church to provide abortion coverage, sterilizations, and artificial contraception – in contradiction to its moral teachings. Obama, as we know, was not quite so respectful of the Church.

    While American Catholics welcome the opinion of the bishops on many public policy issues, they deserve an explanation when their position seems to be at odds with settled moral teachings.

  2. Leon Suprenant says:

    I find it very strange (and perhaps self-serving, but I don’t know the author well enough to make such a judgment) that Hudson and Ryan would be classified as “dissenters from the official position of the U.S. Catholic Church,” as though (a) that’s even true, and (b) there is an official ecclesial body known as the “U.S. Catholic Church,” and (c) that the “U.S. Catholic Church” (sic) has an official teaching on the budget to which the faithful must give their assent.

    Ryan’s budget proposal, in which he consciously tried to apply Catholic social teaching in the context of dealing with an out-of-control national debt, met with favor with some more conservative bishops and met with disfavor on the part of more liberal bishops. And that’s fine–in matters of economics we can have conflicting opinions as to how to put our faith in action without necessarily becoming “dissenters.”

    As Archbishop Lori, recently said, it’s a different “deal” when a politician embraces positions that are inimical to the faith, such as abortion, “gay marriage,” and the severe curtailment of religious liberty. On that score, it’s clearly Obama and (“Catholic” VP) Biden vs. the Bishops, and Catholics (and others of good will) should be duly advised.

  3. Brian Byrne says:

    The Apostolic Letter, Apostolos Suos, by Pope John Paul II, is a helpful reference in better understanding the magisterium on the matter of the weight of USCCB committee pronouncements, particularly paragraph 23.


    22. “…when the doctrinal declarations of Episcopal Conferences are approved unanimously, they may certainly be issued in the name of the Conferences themselves, and the faithful are obliged to adhere with a sense of religious respect to that authentic magisterium of their own Bishops. However, if this unanimity is lacking, a majority alone of the Bishops of a Conference cannot issue a declaration as authentic teaching of the Conference to which all the faithful of the territory would have to adhere…”

    23. “The very nature of the teaching office of Bishops requires that, when they exercise it jointly through the Episcopal Conference, this be done in the plenary assembly. Smaller bodies —the permanent council, a commission or other offices—do not have the authority to carry out acts of authentic magisterium either in their own name or in the name of the Conference, and not even as a task assigned to them by the Conference.”

    Pax et bonum

  4. Brian Byrne says:

    Another more recent, helpful reference is the following letter by Bishop Robert C. Morlino, titled “Subsidiarity, solidarity, and the lay mission”


    It is particularly useful in this case on reading and understanding Apostolos Suos, in context, and on knowing Bishop Morlino, as Bishop of the Diocese of Madison, Wisconsin, is Paul Ryan’s diocesan Bishop.

    Pax et bonum

  5. Paul Rosenthal says:

    No U.S. Catholic owes allegiance to the USCCB but only to the Pope, his diocesan Bishop, and to the Magisterium (the teaching authority of the Catholic Church) which is comprised of the Pope and those Bishops in union with the Pope. The USCCB has no canonical authority, especially no such authority when it comes to teaching. The USCCB has for decades demonstrated its liberal Democrat bias by issuing equivocal, ambiguous Faithful Citizenship documents which provide loopholes, ala Cardinal Bernardin’s seamless garment laundry list of “Catholic issues.” Archbishop Lori expressed in a short paragraph what the USCCB, were it honest and non-partisan, would adopt and publish as the guide which trumps their trumped up Faithful Citizenship loophole-laden permission to vote for the abortionist-in-chief and his henchmen/henchwomen who favor, promote and legislate intrinsic evils. They are morally disqualified from receiving any faithful Catholic’s vote.