December 20, 2013

"What I love about the pope is he is triggering the exact kind of dialogue we ought to be having."

"People need to get involved in their communities to make a difference, to fix problems soul to soul," said Paul Ryan, quoted in a Buzzfeed article titled "Paul Ryan Finds God/How a backstage prayer in Cleveland and a new leader in the Vatican set the budget-slashing congressman on a mission to help the poor."
... Peter Flaherty, a devout Catholic and former Romney adviser who became close with the congressman during the campaign, said Ryan’s worldview has always been firmly rooted in Catholic teachings about the poor.

“Paul is someone who is very cognizant of the social magisterium of the Catholic Church… which encompasses everything from how we care for our neighbors to the idea that there’s hope and purpose and goodness in every human life,” said Flaherty, who recalled slipping away from the Republican convention in 2012 to attend mass with Ryan. “It also includes the ongoing duty of the strong to protect the weak — which I know drives Paul and his effort to help lift people out of poverty.”

20 comments:

Dan said...

Good grief. Confusing government redistribution with charity, again. Certainly is easier with other peoples' money, but hardly fulfills any personal obligation.

Julius Reincarnate said...

The new pope has inspired me personally. Having been raised Catholic, and having had a bad and scary and lonely childhood, I used to take a very cynical view of not only Catholicism, but all of Christianity. Lately I've been giving it a second look, this time with more mature eyes and perhaps a more open heart.

James Carroll's piece in the New Yorker is poignant. Where this leads I do not know. But it does seem to me that life is quite boring and perhaps even pointless without religion.

His words resonate, especially those words about compassion for the poor and downtrodden. Some might view this as a political case for wealth redistribution... but if that is the intention, then I think we should accept that that's what the Holy Spirit is demanding of us.

n.n said...

Dan, exactly. If the pope had any integrity, he would remind people that Christianity does not operate through coercion. The Christian faith and religion requires voluntary compliance. It is above all a moral philosophy.

A lot of people do not get it. They think that their moral obligations are fulfilled through votes for redistributive change schemes. They fail to recognize their immoral behavior, and do not appreciate that their demands for instant gratification are the principal cause of progressive corruption, as well as progressive inflation of cost-of-living.

Oh, well. I guess it's go along to get along, or else.

SJ said...

It is hard to design a good government program that achieves what it sets out to do.

Even harder to figure out how to design a program or plan of reform that is intended to make it easier for some citizens to live better lives.

It is equally hard to deny the pang of hurt and fear felt when witnessing the travails of those on the down-and-out side of society.

Tattoo-bearing bikers, even ones who claim to be reformed men and ministers...

It's easy for politicians to ignore the lives of those people. Or to use them as a source of sound-bytes and TV ads.

I notice that Paul Ryan hasn't been doing that. (Yet.)

And I notice that he's been mining think-tanks for ideas, and keeping in touch with his contact.

Things could be worse.

I hope that Rep. Ryan received wisdom from God, as well as inspiration, from that night of prayer.

Illuninati said...

Personally, I don't know enough about Pope Francis to know the direction he will take his church. I'm glad to read about the positive influence he has had on some people. His job as pope includes care for he poor. Since he came from Argentina, I'm skeptical about his grasp of economics, but hopefully things will work out.

Carl said...

Government is force. It exists only to accomplish by the threat of violence what cannot be accomplished by mutual agreement and persuasion.

Anyone who thinks government has any role whatsoever in the social toolbox of the Christian is mad, ignorant, or deeply wicked. I'd have though we left those people back in the Middle Ages, but apparently their nasty ideas spring eternal. Proof I suppose that the Adversary never sleeps.

Carl said...

I guess I should add "for the purposes of charity and salvation." The kind of stuff where you burn someone at the stake to save his soul. A Christian is perfectly happy to see force (government) used to prevent violence and ensure order.

Jack Wayne said...

Paul Ryan is the same sort of blank slate that caused some people to vote for Obama.

PB Reader said...

I think Ryan found God long before that.

Richard Dolan said...

Catholic social teaching emphasizes the need to treat those in need as fully human, equal in dignity, not as pitiful objects in need of custodial care. The idea is to offer a hand in getting up, self sufficiency being key to the concept of dignity, while providing any immediate aid needed to avoid misery.

it's all easier said than done, but the basic approach is clear enough. I think Ryan is committed to pursuing that approach, as Kemp (another Catholic) was before him.

Richard Dolan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Godfather said...

It's very important to keep religion and politics properly distinguished. My religion may teach me to care about and want to help the poor, the oppressed, prisoners, victims of crime, victims of discrimination, the helpless, etc., but my religion cannot and should not tell me HOW to help them.

My religion cannot tell me how to help because this involves skills, knowledge, and expertise that are not specifically religious. I would not rely on someone to fix my car just because he/she is a good Christian. I would not rely on Pope Francis to tell me how to improve the lot of the unemployed just because he's a good Christian.

But it's even more important that we SHOULD not rely on religion to tell us how to help. Once we start thinking that our religion requires that we adopt particular policies to help those in need, then it follows very quickly that those who oppose these policies are not only mistaken, they are evil. So, you soon find yourself depicting Paul Ryan pushing an old lady in a wheelchair over a cliff, because his policy proposals for helping the old or the sick are different from yours, and therefore evil. And the beauty of it is, you don't even have to show that your policies will work better than his; you just have to claim that you have God on your side, and hence he must be doing Satan's work.

Patrick said...

Paul Ryan is not a blank slate at all.Been in the HOR for quite awhile, budget committee, etc. Even ran for VP once. You may not like his record, but saying he doesn't have one is quite wrong.

Lyle said...

Paul Ryan is no philosopher. Cruz is going to kill him in the debates.

Ryan's religiosity is transparently fake. He needs to watch Obama more closely and learn how to do it well.

LilyBart said...


Great! He SHOULD help the poor. PRIVATELY.

What is should NOT do is use his power to support large, bloated, inefficient, ineffective government programs that claim to help the poor. These programs most often just hurt the poor, and increase the power and wealth for political types and their close associates.

This should be obvious to everyone by now.

AReasonableMan said...

Paul Ryan is clearly the choice of a large fraction of DC Repubs to be the next presidential candidate. For some time it appeared that it would be a governor, because of their ability to get things done and to deal with the Dems. By giving Ryan a deal with the Dems they have cleared a path for him. Now he is becoming a compassionate conservative, setting himself up for the general election. It might work. There seems to be a strong sentiment against Christie, his main rival, and Ryan as the former VP candidate is next in line.

A Guy in New York said...

What the heck is "the social magisterium"? Good grief. The magisterium consists of the bishops and the Pope. See this:

http://www.ewtn.com/faith/teachings/chura4.htm

As an orthodox Roman Catholic, I was initially distressed by the lamestream media reports about what Pope Francis said. But looking into it more deeply, he did not say what the press reported.

As a Catholic libertarian (see Lord Acton, Acton Institute, Judge Andrew Napolitano, Leonard Liggio, etc., etc.), I would be stunned to find the *magisterium* confusing charity with state coercion. So stunned it would make me question my faith.

Many American Catholic Bishops and Catholic organizations on the other hand have happily hopped into bed with the state for years, and it is completely inappropriate.

Numerous examples abound of sloppy thinking by American Catholics. (One little annoyance is seeing Catholic parochial schools proclaiming that they are "Blue Ribbon" schools recognized by the U.S. Dept of Education.)

And it would not pain me to see Catholic organizations that take state money lose their non-profit status.

Charity is a private, not a state, matter.

Carol said...

He's my pope but it *feels* like he's nudging us to accept and support the welfare growth our social democrat governments are pushing. His statements out of context are certainly being used that way.

And it implies we're doing nothing now, when we do so much. Is he saying we're not/never doing enough, or are too mechanical in our response to canned goods drives, giving trees, fund raising for Catholic relief services? That may be true but as between emotional, spontaneous giving for a while and "mechanical" ongoing charity over the decades, I'll take the latter.

I liked it better when the pope was pissing off the right people.

readering said...

The Catholic Church has a long history, dating to Constantine and the Holy Roman Empire, of believing in the use of the State to accomplish the ends of the Church. Check out the Heresy of Americanism and remember that it was only in the 1920s that the Vatican reconciled itself to the loss of the Vatican States as part of the unification of Italy. Libertarian Catholic is an oxymoron. The thing about Ryan has been trying to reconcile his Catholic Faith with his oft repeated admiration for Anti-Catholic Ayn Rand.

Locomotive Breath said...

What would Jesus do?

I'm pretty sure he didn't lobby the Romans to force the Pharisees and Sadducees to pay more tax so as to distribute the money to the poor.