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Did Paul Ryan’s Bishop Contradict the USCCB?

May 15, 2012, 10:23 am | Posted by Nick Sementelli

In a recent interview with the Catholic television network EWTN, Bishop Robert Morlino of Madison, WI (Rep. Paul Ryan’s local bishop), seemingly contradicted the USCCB’s clear critique of the Catholic congressman’s morally flawed budget plan.

While the conference (under the leadership of Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development Chairman Bishop Stephen Blaire) has been clear that Ryan’s budget fails a “basic moral test,” Bishop Morlino appears to let Ryan off the hook. Deferring to Ryan’s own excuse that he is exercising “prudential judgment,” Morlino describes him as someone “who makes his judgment in accord with all the teachings of the Church.”

Watch it:

Unfortunately, if Bishop Morlino actually means to say the Ryan budget is in accord with Cathoilc teaching, it would put him at odds with his fellow bishops who — as the USCCB made clear to Rep. Ryan – are represented by Bishop Blaire’s letters.

Their critique focuses not only on the specific cuts Ryan makes, but also his abandonment of the larger principle of shared sacrifice by the wealthy and the military.

It’s that imbalance — an imbalance that will do real harm to vulnerable families — that violates the bishops’ principles and puts the House GOP budget outside the range of acceptable options.

4 Responses to “Did Paul Ryan’s Bishop Contradict the USCCB?”

  1. While Morlino may be correct in granting Ryan “prudential judgment,” which is granted to all Catholics, one has to wonder that such “prudential judgment” is allowed with regard to a budget with implications for millions of people, but not with regard to, say, the decision a couple makes about birth control. A double standard would seem to be at play here.

    • B. Belknap says:

      I think the comments bring up good questions. A lot of US Catholics don’t seem to understand that the teachings are conservative on sexual issues and liberal on social justice issues. Neither party represents the church’s teachings.

      That said, it doesn’t surprise me that The World Over dug up this bishop to contradict the USCCB and vindicate Ryan. EWTN’s devotional programming is great, but they act as if they’ve never heard of the church’s social teaching. I watched an EWTN presentation with Raymond Arroyo, about a year ago, and was totally shocked by how snobbish he sounds in his attitudes about the poor. They might as well be aliens as far as his approach goes. He needs to remember: humility is a virtue, and he’s not royalty.

  2. Marian Ronan says:

    There’s no “double standard” because, as the historical sociologist Gene Burns argued in “The Frontiers of Catholicism” twenty years ago, after Vatican II, Catholic sexual teaching replaced not only social teaching but even doctrine at the top of the Catholic ideological hierarchy. According to the bishops and the Vatican, only sex matters. This is what Bishop Morlino is expressing. You can make “prudential judgments” about the poor, the homeless, the unemployed, people with AIDS. What you can’t do is make a “prudential judgment” about “abortion,” even when what’s meant by that is contraception. Nor can you make a “prudential judgment” about homosexuality, or even women’s ordination. As Jesus said, “I have come to bring good news to the pure.”

  3. T.D. MacLam says:

    and Jesus wept.