It's been noted on the front page and elsewhere that dozens of professors at Catholic University have signed an open letter protesting the House Republicans' budget on the occasion of Speaker Boehner's commencement address there. What I think needs to be pointed out prominently is the strength of the passion in this letter, reflected in the remarkably blunt language used.
From the apostles to the present, the Magisterium of the Church has insisted that those in power are morally obliged to preference the needs of the poor. Your record in support of legislation to address the desperate needs of the poor is among the worst in Congress. This fundamental concern should have great urgency for Catholic policy makers. Yet, even now, you work in opposition to it.
See -- Republican policies are in opposition to core moral principles of the Church.
The letter details a number of concrete ways in which the Ryan/Boehner budget whacks the poor:
The 2012 budget you shepherded to passage in the House of Representatives guts long-established protections for the most vulnerable members of society. It is particularly cruel to pregnant women and children, gutting Maternal and Child Health grants and slashing $500 million from the highly successful Women Infants and Children nutrition program. When they graduate from WIC at age 5, these children will face a 20% cut in food stamps. The House budget radically cuts Medicaid and effectively ends Medicare. It invokes the deficit to justify visiting such hardship upon the vulnerable, while it carves out $3 trillion in new tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy.
Against the "urgent" Catholic principle of helping the poor as noted above, the Ryan/Boehner budget actually hurts the poor -- particularly poor pregnant women, note -- in all kinds of ways, while dishing $3 trillion to the rich.
Then comes what I think is the rhetorical killer:
In a letter speaking on behalf of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Bishop Stephen Blaire and Bishop Howard Hubbard detailed the anti-life implications of this budget in regard to its impact on poor and vulnerable American citizens.
Did you catch that? The Republican budget is anti-life. And this point is made by two Bishops, writing their own open letter, and echoed in the professors' open letter and then again in this editorial by National Catholic Reporter writer Michael Sean Winters, who also notes that the budget will cause more abortions by pushing more poor pregnant women into desperate straits.
Let's not ever let any of these folks get away with calling himself/herself "pro-life." It's just not true, and now mainstream Catholic thinking is realizing it.