Usually writers don’t get to choose the headlines that go with their articles, so Michael Sean Winters isn’t to blame for this one on his piece in The New Republic: “The Ryan Budget and the Raging Battle Within the U.S. Catholic Church.” But it’s a terrible headline, because there is no raging battle, not even really a controversy.
Winters is a liberal writer at the National Catholic Reporter, and in this piece he’s trying to put Archbishop Dolan’s (totally expected) non-denunciation of Paul Ryan’s budget plan into perspective for liberals. Unfortunately, he doesn’t quite capture what’s going on.
For example, skip to the end, where Winters writes, “No matter how Paul Ryan tries to convince himself that Rome and Rand can be reconciled, they can’t. Ayn Rand despised the poor. The Church is called to treasure them.”
Here he’s strayed pretty far from reality. The Ryan budget would move seniors from a defined benefit to a defined contribution plan for their health care needs, while block-granting health care assistance for the poor to the states. The Church has really no problem with this, as evidenced by Archbishop Dolan’s letter and also just common sense. And it’s not exactly cold-hearted Randianism. Hard to imagine Rand signing off on giant government programs redistributing resources to the elderly and poor. There’s no evidence at all that Ryan is trying to inflict Objectivism on the country through the budget, except for possibly the (false) stories that Ryan makes his staffers read Atlas Shrugged.
There are plenty of issues on which conservatives have to struggle to reconcile their political preferences with the will of the bishops and the Church — some of which Archbishop Dolan mentioned explicitly in his blog post on this matter, for instance, immigration. But the Ryan budget is not one of them.
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