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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.

Originally posted to jem6x on Wed May 11, 2011 at 09:11 PM PDT.

Also republished by Street Prophets .

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Comment Preferences

  •  Mixed feelings (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jem6x, libnewsie, theKgirls, Oh Mary Oh

    Social justice is such an important mission of the church. And yet, it seems that the "organized" version of the church rarely misses an opportunity to drop the ball. I'm glad to see prominent members of the church taking a public stand.

    But the fact is, in the past 20 years, most every time a spokesman for the church is making a pronouncement relative to American politics, it's nearly always about abortion.

    I'd love to see more of this. I'd love to see a formal policy statement on capital punishment and on the excessive growth in the prison industry. On the immorality of war. On the need to speak out for the needs of the down trodden, especially including LGBT populations.

    Thanks for pointing out something that was done right. Let's all bring attention to it, in the hopes that (a) Republicans are embarrassed, and (more importantly, and more likely) (b) clergy get the message.

    •  Your wish is granted. (5+ / 0-)

      Here's a link to a long list of statements re capital punishment, for starters, including not only formal Vatican statements but "101 Reasons to Abandon the Death Penalty."

      US Bishops on Death Penalty

      Statements about the needs of the downtrodden, and about unjust wars (particularly by the last pope) have been frequent and unflinching. I don't know about prison industry in particular, though I've never looked, but I would be surprised if their position on that was not equally progressive. As to LGBT populations, that's more complicated and I won't try to capture it fully here. A mix of appalling (contributing to Prop 8) and compassionate (long history of caring for AIDS patients) -- and no, it is not Catholic doctrine that "gay people are going to hell" as is sometimes claimed. Optimistically, I would say it's a position in flux. Perhaps I'll continue to be disappointed, as I am with some of their policies in re LGBT adoption. It could go either way -- it's one of the issues in which there's a great divide between the conservative bishops appointed in recent decades and the laity (and most priests I know). My hunch is that, as marriage equality eventually becomes the norm in the general population, there will be an uneasy peace and eventual acceptance, though perhaps not blessing. I would expect this before women's ordination, for example. (Male supremacy -- gay or straight -- trumps all in this patriarchy.)    

      At the risk of sounding Palinesque, the fact that the media focuses primarily on the abortion statements and does not advertise the Church's stand on comprehensive immigration reform tells you more about the media than about the Church. (Oh, Lou Dobbs used to, but only to bash the bishops for engaging in politics. Same objections as regularly raised here, just regarding immigration rather than abortion.)

      My apologies if you've already seen all this stuff, but perhaps others will find some of the capital punishment arguments useful.

      •  Excellent perspective. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Villanova Rhodes, marykk, Oh Mary Oh

        What will it take to get the media to give a more balanced view?

        And in particular -- to stop asking Bill Donohue what his opinion is, as if he speaks for the country's Catholics.

        "We reject as false the choice between our safety and our values." Barack Hussein Obama

        by jem6x on Wed May 11, 2011 at 10:30:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Oh, from your lips (or keyboard) (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jem6x, marykk, Oh Mary Oh

          to God's ear. Donohue singlehandedly does more harm than the hierarchy as a whole, and that's saying something.

          Interesting question about what it would take to balance things out. Off the top of my head, I don't think the rest of the media problem, let alone the confirmatory bias of anti-Catholic/anti-religion liberals, will be overcome until the efforts to address the sexual abuse crisis have been successful and sustained for a number of years. I think those efforts -- way too late -- are impressive, but the church will be (and should be) on reputational parole for a good while yet.

      •  Thanks for the comments (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Villanova Rhodes

        I know of the bishops position on capital punishment. It would sure be nice to hear about that position at Mass, sometimes. And I overlooked immigration- that's an issue where the church can really do a lot of good.

        There's a lot more than media coverage going on. The church leadership has some pretty big problems. I am good friends with one priest, one with more than 40 years in the priesthood. To listen to him, it sounds like we hear only about the palatable conversations that go on, i.e., they (the Bishops) are more out of touch than we know. That worries me a lot.

        •  No disagreement here. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          I'm equally concerned, though, about the younger priests, who seem to be as conservative as the bishops. For self-selection and societal reasons they probably started out that way, and if the conservatives have successfully purged the seminaries, the new recruits are then educated ("formed") to be like them. Even worse among nuns.

          Sounds like we know priests in a sort of middle generation, where it's getting very lonely.  

    •  At least the Cahtolic Church makes some attempts.. (5+ / 0-) social justice.  Compare that to the evangelicals, who claim that if you are poor, you are not part of the "elect" and deserve your misery.  The protestant idea of "salvation by faith alone" has had untold negative social consequences over the centuries.


      by LordMike on Wed May 11, 2011 at 11:16:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I don't know. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    libnewsie, johnny wurster, Oh Mary Oh

    This same group of guys unanimously believes that all abortions should be banned, that using contraception is a sin, and that gay people are going to hell. So I hate using them to make any argument.

    I'm in the I-fucking-love-this-guy wing of the Democratic Party!

    by doc2 on Wed May 11, 2011 at 09:25:27 PM PDT

  •  Maybe its just my perspective (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LordMike, marykk, Oh Mary Oh

    But I decided a few years back that if you subscribe to National Catholic Reporter, or Commonweal, or listen to the teachings of the dwindling minority of American bishops who still articulate the social teachings of the magisterium -- then you're basically labeled a heretic or a schismatic by the majority of actively engaged American Catholics

    That being said, I appreciate the diary.  

    "Mr. Overton, your window is broken" (John Cole, 5/11/11)

    by RickinStLouis on Wed May 11, 2011 at 09:39:15 PM PDT

  •  There's still room for (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marykk, Oh Mary Oh

    improvement in the Catholic Church's representation of all people -- including women people who might like to be ordained and lesbian and gay people who might appreciate equal welcome as citizens -- but in the immediate case I love it that Ryan is getting slapped around by these particular voices.  

    Ryan is dishing out a lot of mean-spirited crap and it's good to keep up the pressure on him.  

  •  Mainstream Catholic thinking (6+ / 0-)

    has realized it for a long, long time. The sharp turn to the right in U.S. Catholicism is of pretty recent vintage, and is by no means universal among either the laity or the clergy.

    I first thought this was going to be a redundant diary, having seen the others, but you added value. Thanks for that.

  •  Thank You .... (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jem6x, itskevin, LordMike, marykk, Oh Mary Oh

    Submitted to be republished on Street Prophets.


    "Upward, not Northward" - Flatland, by EA Abbott

    by linkage on Wed May 11, 2011 at 10:21:26 PM PDT

  •  Catholic Church would support single payer, but... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LordMike, libnewsie

    abortion is a huge issue.

    •  Do you remember the letter (4+ / 0-)

      signed by a coalition of nuns across the country as the battle to pass the PPACA raged on?  They argued strongly in favor of the bill, because of the effect it would have on the ground, saving lives.  They even used similar phrasing: "Supporting this bill is truly pro-life," or some such.

      "We reject as false the choice between our safety and our values." Barack Hussein Obama

      by jem6x on Wed May 11, 2011 at 11:58:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  They should lose their tax exemption. (0+ / 0-)

    This violates church  & state separation.

    Those are just two of the many outraged comments we'd be reading if these profs had intervened against the Democrats.  I'll keep an eye out for principled opposition to this letter, but I suspect I won't be able to put my lamp down soon.

    •  Seriously? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Oh Mary Oh

      If a Catholic church organizes to change the outcome of an election, whether to help a Democrat or a Republican, I'll call for the tax exemption to be reviewed.

      This is a letter written by a broad coalition of lay Catholics.  They're allowed to express their opinion.  No, if they were criticizing Democrats I wouldn't be calling for their churches' tax exemption to be ended.

      Golly.  False equivalence, ya think?

      "We reject as false the choice between our safety and our values." Barack Hussein Obama

      by jem6x on Thu May 12, 2011 at 05:34:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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