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Ryan’s ‘Dissent’ (Does his “dissent” from “Catholic Social Teaching” make him not a good Catholic?)
National Review ^ | 08/15/2012 | Linda Bridges

Posted on 08/15/2012 7:32:53 AM PDT by SeekAndFind

Michael Sean Winters, blogging for the National Catholic Reporter, has written a lengthy piece asserting that Paul Ryan’s “dissent” from “Catholic Social Teaching” makes him a not very good Catholic and a “dangerous” choice for vice president.

Others are far more qualified than I to discuss Catholic social teaching and Ryan’s understanding of it (see, e.g., Michael Novak, “Jesuits Rebuke Ryan,” and George Weigel, “Ryan vs. Georgetown”). But Mr. Winters begins his piece with an account of William F. Buckley Jr.’s “dissent” from Catholic social teaching, and that account is wrong in nearly every particular. That, I am qualified to discuss, as the co-author of a biography of Buckley and co-editor of a major anthology of his work.

It is true, as Mr. Winters says, that Buckley “published a critique” of Blessed Pope John XXIII’s encyclical Mater et Magistra. But the critique was not entitled “Going the rounds in conservative circles: ‘Mater, sí, Magistra, no.’” That line appeared as the final zinger in a short, staff-written column called “For the Record” (and by the way, it reads “Going the rounds in Catholic conservative circles . . .”). Buckley’s critique had appeared, as an unsigned editorial paragraph, in the previous issue of National Review (July 29, 1961), and its gravamen was that the encyclical simply failed, in applying Catholic social teaching to the postwar world, to take adequate account of facts such as “the continuing and demonic successes of the Communists,” “the extraordinary material well-being that such free economic systems as Japan’s, West Germany’s, and our own are generating,” and “the dehumanization, under technology-cum-statism, of the individual’s role in life.” Buckley amplified his points two issues later in a signed editorial entitled “The Strange Behavior of America.” This editorial includes the line, splendidly apposite to the attacks on Paul Ryan, “There is room for disagreement as to whether a particular social measure is dehumanizing in its tendency: Catholics can disagree on the matter.”

Back to “Mater, sí”: The phrase did come, as Mr. Winters says, from Garry Wills, but what does it mean to describe him as “not yet converted”? From what to what? From conservatism to radicalism? Because when it comes to religion, Mr. Wills (as he would later write in Bare Ruined Choirs) is a cradle Catholic, and he remains a Catholic to this day.

Finally, Mr. Winters describes the “Mater, sí” incident as “the first significant instance of public dissent from the magisterium of the Church by an American public intellectual.” Well, I believe Buckley would have been considered a “public intellectual” when he first publicly criticized an encyclical, nine years earlier. He wrote, in The Catholic World (August 1952): “Thus, while, as I state, I cannot believe the Holy Father could approve of the march of our government down a road that weakens the prestige of religion, the institution of the family, the institution of private property, and the principle of subsidiarity, I readily admit that I am confused by some of the statements that appear in the social encyclicals. And to the extent that I am, I suppose I am open to Father Fullman’s censure. For example, I am filled with horror at the possible interpretations of Pius XII’s statement (from Summi Pontificatus), ‘Hence, it is the noble prerogative and function of the State so to control, aid and direct the private and individual activities of national life that they converge harmoniously toward the common good.’”

Six years after Mater et Magistra, Buckley wrote another passage that bears directly on l’affaire Ryan: “Pope Paul VI has released an unfortunate encyclical (Populorum Progressio), particularly unfortunate because its naïveté in economic and other secular matters drowns out passages of eloquence which, had they gone unencumbered by confused and confusing ideological detritus, might have served to remind the responsible community of the inspiring ardor of the pope’s passion for human reconciliation and the exercise of charity on a universal scale. . . .

“It all reminds one of St. Thomas Aquinas’s warning that, outside the field of morals and doctrine, the Church is quite capable of erring, ‘propter falsos testes’—on account of bad information. Those who have worked hardest and most productively for the diminution of human misery and know that the preconditions are (1) political stability and (2) economic freedom will be disappointed not by the goals, exquisitely described by the pope, but by the suggested means, illusory and self-defeating, which if followed would have the contrary effect to that desired by this intense and holy man.”

Dissent, sí, disrespect for the Magisterium, no.

— Linda Bridges, editor-at-large at National Review, is the co-author, with John R. Coyne Jr., of Strictly Right: William F. Buckley Jr. and the American Conservative Movement, and the co-editor, with Roger Kimball, of Athwart History: Half a Century of Polemics, Animadversions, and Illuminations: A William F. Buckley Jr. Omnibus.

TOPICS: Catholic; Current Events; Religion & Culture; Religion & Politics
KEYWORDS: 2012issues; catholicism; catholicpoliticians; catholicvote; paulryan; ryanandgod; socialteaching
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1 posted on 08/15/2012 7:33:03 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

Hmmm, never thought of it that way.

Guess Old Man Kennedy’’s boinking of every female within range made him a bad Catholic.

Guess JFK’s boinking of every female within range made him a bad Catholic.

Guess dead Ted’s boinking of everything within range made him a bad Catholic.

Guess Nancy Bimbosi’s complete inability have any job until after she boinked a millionaire makes her a bad Catholic.

The only problem I see right now is that the Catholic Church should have a lot more excommunicating and a lot less “social justics” work.

2 posted on 08/15/2012 7:36:00 AM PDT by Da Coyote
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To: Da Coyote

And yup, “social justics” was intentional.

3 posted on 08/15/2012 7:38:14 AM PDT by Da Coyote
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To: SeekAndFind

How is Ryan a “dissenting” Catholic? The article seemed to be all about Buckley (who I liked) but I didn’t seen how Ryan was dissenting.

4 posted on 08/15/2012 7:50:36 AM PDT by little jeremiah (Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point. CSLewis)
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To: SeekAndFind; FatherofFive; Cronos; wagglebee; dsc; Deo volente; MarkBsnr; Mad Dawg; ...

The National Cathylyc Fishwrap has the audacity to criticize Ryan’s fidelity? This rag, condemned as heretical by their local Bishop over 40 years ago ( has the nerve to say that about anybody? What a joke!
The fact is that unlike the Fishwrap’s editors, Mr. Ryan understands that subsidiarity is an essential part of Catholic Social Teaching and that , per Catholic Social Teaching, “ the common good “ does not equal communism.

Unlike the CINOs in the legislative and executive branches, Ryan actually understands and applies Catholic teaching in his work.

5 posted on 08/15/2012 7:53:31 AM PDT by markomalley (Nothing emboldens the wicked so greatly as the lack of courage on the part of the good-Pope Leo XIII)
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To: SeekAndFind
"Michael Sean Winters........."

I stopped right there.

The dissenter is Winters. His understanding of Catholic "social teaching" is selective, skewed and improvised. He writes for the National Catholic Reporter and is a card-carrying "spirit (small 's') of Vatican II" advocate.

He whines about anything and everything which the Pope and bishops are currently doing to strengthen the Church's connection with Tradition and weed out heresy.

6 posted on 08/15/2012 7:57:53 AM PDT by marshmallow (.)
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To: SeekAndFind

The ignorance is pretty telling. Ryan is NO dissenter from Catholic social teaching. He knows it well, understands how several have been wrong about its interpretation...particularly here in the United States..AND demonstrates how his policies line up well with authentic Catholic teaching.

Rep. Ryan: ‘We Have Pursued Solidarity but Abused Subsidiarity’

Catholic Social Teaching and the Ryan Budget by Thomas Berg
(from the Witherspoon Institute)

Paul Ryan and Catholic Social Teaching (Roundup) The American Catholic April 29, 2012.

The Bishops Were Wrong On The Ryan Budget - Pat Archbold (National Catholic Register) challenges the popular assumption that “The Bishops collectively condemned the Ryan Budget.”

ALSO, the author of the article might want to consult the Church’s New Compendium of Social Teaching as well as Pope Benedict’s thoughts on states assuming far too much power and/or using power incorrectly.

7 posted on 08/15/2012 8:03:45 AM PDT by SumProVita (Cogito, ergo...Sum Pro Vita. - Modified Descartes)
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To: SeekAndFind

Catholic “social teaching” is all about the marriage of church and state, where the church rules and overrules political debate... all ya have to do is look at the the past to see what the future holds. Just listen to Socialist Democratic Catholics, they want the state to oversee Catholic “compassion” for the less fortunate... and then they scream bloody murder when the state passes a law mandating they provide contraceptives... Hey you Catholics, if you don’t want the devil dictating over you, stop sleeping with him.

8 posted on 08/15/2012 8:06:07 AM PDT by dps.inspect (rage against the Obama machine...)
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To: SeekAndFind

Considering the people pushing this propaganda line support Abortion on Demand politicians like Obama and Biden, just who is the “Bad Catholic” is exactly backwards.

Seems Liberal Catholics missed the point in Christ’s teaching that charity is supposed to be a personal, not government imposed, duty.

9 posted on 08/15/2012 8:15:50 AM PDT by MNJohnnie (Giving more money to DC to fix the Debt is like giving free drugs to addicts think it will cure them)
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To: SumProVita
Has any democrat Catholic ever heard of this one?

Rep. Ryan: ‘We Have Pursued Solidarity but Abused Subsidiarity’

10 posted on 08/15/2012 8:19:36 AM PDT by DManA
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To: DManA

From Wikipedia:

Subsidiarity is an organizing principle stating that a matter ought to be handled by the smallest, lowest, or least centralized authority capable of addressing that matter effectively.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines subsidiarity as the idea that a central authority should have a subsidiary function, performing only those tasks which cannot be performed effectively at a more immediate or local level.

11 posted on 08/15/2012 8:27:51 AM PDT by SeekAndFind (bOTRT)
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To: MNJohnnie


One of the key principles of Catholic social thought is known as the principle of subsidiarity. This tenet holds that nothing should be done by a larger and more complex organization which can be done as well by a smaller and simpler organization. In other words, any activity which can be performed by a more decentralized entity should be. This principle is a bulwark of limited government and personal freedom. It conflicts with the passion for centralization and bureaucracy characteristic of the Welfare State.

This is why Pope John Paul II took the “social assistance state” to task in his 1991 encyclical Centesimus Annus. The Pontiff wrote that the Welfare State was contradicting the principle of subsidiarity by intervening directly and depriving society of its responsibility. This “leads to a loss of human energies and an inordinate increase of public agencies which are dominated more by bureaucratic ways of thinking than by concern for serving their clients and which are accompanied by an enormous increase in spending.”

In spite of this clear warning, the United States Catholic Bishops remain staunch defenders of a statist approach to social problems. They have publicly criticized recent congressional efforts to reform the welfare system by decentralizing it and removing its perverse incentives. Their opposition to the Clinton Administration’s health care plan was based solely upon its inclusion of abortion funding. They had no fundamental objection to a takeover of the health care industry by the federal government.

12 posted on 08/15/2012 8:29:46 AM PDT by SeekAndFind (bOTRT)
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To: DManA

Good grief! The majority of the “Catholic” Democrat leaders of today ARE dissenters from Catholic teaching and/or are completely ignorant of it.

They don’t even know (or follow) the teaching on abortion....let alone subsidiarity.

13 posted on 08/15/2012 8:31:57 AM PDT by SumProVita (Cogito, ergo...Sum Pro Vita. - Modified Descartes)
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To: dps.inspect

Do take the time to find some facts to argue about instead of airmuffins. “Socialist Democratic Catholics,” as you put it DO NOT FOLLOW Catholic social teachings. And by virtue of their desiring having the government, as you put it, “oversee Catholic ‘compassion,’” they are likewise not following Catholic social teaching. That’s not saying that there aren’t those who do these things. You and I both know that there are. But you cannot claim that they are following Catholic social teachings and still claim to speak truth. Do some reading, please.

As to the article, nah. anything from the fishwrap is unfit to fill a catbox.

14 posted on 08/15/2012 8:33:16 AM PDT by sayuncledave (et Verbum caro factum est (And the Word was made flesh))
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To: SeekAndFind
"Michael Sean Winters, blogging for the National Catholic Reporter"

You can stop after reading that bit. The National Catholic Reporter (not to be confused with the Register) is anything but Catholic.

15 posted on 08/15/2012 8:36:58 AM PDT by Graing ("The power of wind, fire... all that kind of thing")
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To: SeekAndFind

I am so impressed with Ryan.

I HOPE HOPE HOPE the Romneys listen to Ryan.
I am of course skeptical skeptical skeptical.

16 posted on 08/15/2012 8:37:22 AM PDT by DManA
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To: SeekAndFind

Is wealth distribution by secular bureaucratic agencies that retrieves resources through threat of jail or bodily harm a Catholic social teaching?

“the poor you will always have with you...” especially if you perpetuate a racket that promotes the poor to keep being poor because some evil people need votes to live like nobles.

17 posted on 08/15/2012 8:42:13 AM PDT by rollo tomasi (Working hard to pay for deadbeats and corrupt politicians)
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To: SeekAndFind

Thank you, that is excellent information to have on hand

18 posted on 08/15/2012 8:56:57 AM PDT by MNJohnnie (Giving more money to DC to fix the Debt is like giving free drugs to addicts think it will cure them)
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To: SeekAndFind
Does the Catholic Church actually teach that the government should tax people under threat of force to "help" others instead of teaching that we as individuals are called to help those in need?

Some individual (liberal) priests/bishops might, but the church as a whole? Not that I'm aware of.

19 posted on 08/15/2012 9:09:13 AM PDT by MEGoody (Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.)
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To: SeekAndFind

“Jesuits Rebuke Ryan”

I stopped reading right there! What is it about the Jesuits? They seem to be more liberal than the liberals.

20 posted on 08/15/2012 9:27:06 AM PDT by pepperdog (Why are Democrats Afraid of a Voter ID Law?)
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