Rep. Paul Ryan: Catholic ‘subsidiarity’ rejects ‘big government’

Joshua Roberts BLOOMBERG Representative Paul Ryan, a Republican from Wisconsin and chairman of the House Budget Committee, speaks during a … Continued

Joshua Roberts


Representative Paul Ryan, a Republican from Wisconsin and chairman of the House Budget Committee, speaks during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, April 5, 2011.

“To me, the [Catholic] principle of subsidiarity, which is really federalism, meaning government closest to the people governs best, having a civil society of the principle of solidarity where we, through our civic organizations, through our churches, through our charities, through all of our different groups where we interact with people as a community, that’s how we advance the common good.

“By not having big government crowd out civic society, but by having enough space in our communities so that we can interact with each other, and take care of people who are down and out in our communities. Those principles are very very important, and the preferential option for the poor, which is one of the primary tenets of Catholic social teaching, means don’t keep people poor, don’t make people dependent on government so that they stay stuck at their station in life. Help people get out of poverty out into a life of independence.”

-Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), in an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network on how his Catholic beliefs influenced his budget plan.

  • AZtoVA

    Rep. Ryan is exactly right about this, from the Church’s perspective, although more could be said. Don’t outsource care for the poor, seriously ill and marginalized to enormous and uaccountable agencies that break not only the principle of subsidiarity, but the principle of solidarity. Paying taxes does not get anyone out of an obligation to be present to and to support our less fortunate brothers and sisters.

  • adifferentpointofview

    Given that Jesus said to beat your swords into ploughshares and that it’s bad to be rich, I’m hard pressed to imagine how a Ryan budget that cuts taxes for the wealthy, spends a lot on defense and guts social programs is based on his Christian faith. It sounds more like a budget the devil would create.

  • catatonicjones

    Ryan and his other fanatic catholics want his church to be running everything. Add up the size of his church and the size of government now … do things his way, that sum will not change. Only this time his church can tell everybody what to do, how to live, who to love, what to eat and on and on.

    Ryan owes his allegiance to a foreigner in a foreign land before the constitution. I’ll never vote for a papist traitor.

  • terencef100

    Jesus never said that it is bad to be rich. That is just plain wrong. He said that it is very hard for a rich person to get into heaven. By extension that means that money can become an end in itself. A rich person must use his wealth for the betterment of others.

  • mdiv2000

    Jesus didn’t say that about ploughshares. Isaiah did (2:4), Joel did (3:10), and Micah did (4:3), but Jesus never did.

    He also never said it was bad to be rich. He said it was harder to enter the commonwealth of God if you are, but never that it was bad.

    On the other hand, he said it was bad for a man to divorce his wife (Mark 10:11).

  • ccnl1

    The RCC, great social works but significant flaws in theology and history.

  • amelia45

    Ryan is as much a “cafeteria Catholic” as Santorum. There is much more involved in the over-all Catholic view of social responsibility. Ryan picks and chooses what he thinks makes an unChristian budget look as if Jesus would approve.

    Jesus would be appalled. There is far more of Ayn Rand in the budget than their is of Jesus.

  • youngmindoldbody

    So I guess we won’t see many top Republicans in heaven?

  • veilmaker

    In Luke 6.24, Jesus says, “But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.” And the whole of Amos is a hymn to social justice. Furthermore, because Ryan is claiming to have drawn upon his Catholic faith, he is bound by more than scripture. The second part pope’s encyclical on love (Deus caritas est) is devoted entirely to a Catholic understanding of love as helping “the least of these”; that is, to helping the poor and marginalized. Ryan needs to understand Catholic social teaching before claiming to be drawing upon it for a budget that is antithetical to almost everything the Catholic Church has taught for two millenia.

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