Marquette Warrior: Leftist “Catholic” Academics Plan Another Attack on Paul Ryan

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Leftist “Catholic” Academics Plan Another Attack on Paul Ryan

The following is from an e-mail sent out to Marquette Theology Faculty:
From: Theological Studies Editor

Sent: Sunday, October 07, 2012 6:48 PM

To: Theo-Faculty Subject: FW: statement in advance of the Ryan/Biden debate--please sign if you can

From: Charles Camosy []

Sent: Saturday, October 06, 2012 12:16 PM

To: Charles Camosy

Subject: statement in advance of the Ryan/Biden debate--please sign if you can

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Please consider signing the following statement (via the link below) that Vince Miller, Jana Bennett, David Cloutier, Meghan Clark, and I put together this week. We worked hard to give this document the best chance we could to be signed by a diverse group of Catholics. It is not an attack on Paul Ryan, and we are careful not to make judgments about his personal character or honesty, but we do believe that this coming week presents an important teachable moment when it comes to Catholic Social Doctrine.

We’d like to get it out (in a signed form) a couple of days before the Vice Presidential debate, so please sign soon if you are able--and please also pass it onto others who fit the description below and you think might be interested.

Thanks so much,


This statement is intended primarily for theologians and other Catholic academics knowledgeable and concerned about Catholic social thought and doctrine.

If you would like to sign, please click on this link:


We write as Catholic theologians, academics and ministers concerned for our nation and for the integrity of the teachings of the Catholic Church. We write to hold up aspects of the Church’s social doctrine that are profoundly relevant to the challenges our nation faces at this moment in history, yet are in danger of being ignored.

A Tipping Point:

America is at a tipping point where the traditional commitment of our government to protecting and advancing the common good is in very real danger of being dismantled for generations. Members of the “Tea Party,” libertarians, Ayn Rand followers and other proponents of small government have brought libertarian views of government into the mainstream; legitimating forms of social indifference. After decades of anti-government rhetoric and “starve the beast” tax cuts, some even appear to exploit predictable fiscal problems to establish a privatized, libertarian order that reduces society to a collection of individuals and shrinks the common good to fit the outcomes achievable by private, for profit firms.
And it goes on from there.

The point, quite clearly, is to put up some flack that can be used against Paul Ryan in advance of his debate with Joe Biden. It has apparently been sent out to academics all over the country in the hope of gaining a lot of signatures.

The letter invokes Catholic Social Teaching to attack Ryan, accusing him of having too little concern for the poor.

Of course, Catholic Social Teaching does insist on concern for the poor, but whether the trillion dollars the U.S. now spends on means-tested programs for the poor is too little, about the right amount, or too much is not something that Catholic Social Teaching can specify. It’s a matter of prudential judgment.

Paul Ryan’s judgment is not that the amount should be cut, but that increases should be limited. In the eyes of these leftist academics, that makes him a bad Catholic.

But as we have pointed out, the people who sign these kinds of letters (and most certainly the people who signed the previous anti-Ryan letter) seem to have a commitment to Catholic Social Teaching only when it can be used to attack Republicans. If the issue is abortion, or gay marriage, it’s a very different matter.

Interestingly, the e-mail was sent out to Theology faculty by the journal Theological Studies. Is it appropriate for that journal to endorse a partisan polemic? That’s something we’ll follow up on tomorrow.


David G. Schultenover, S.J., editor of Theological Studies, has e-mailed us saying “I don’t know how this solicitation got sent out with my return address. Theological Studies is not endorsing this solicitation.”

It would be grossly inappropriate for the journal to do so, and they did not.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

What truly needs to be called out as "Catholic" is an approach which dissents from our social doctrine in order to support a party which has disappointed time and time again in seriously opposing abortion.

5:54 AM  

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