Return of the Prodigal Son by Pompeo Batoni - 1773

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Sunday, August 12, 2012

Romney Picks Catholic V.P.

Romney Picks 
Catholic V.P.

          The Republican primary featured two Catholics, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, who made some noise for the nomination.  Both lost to Mitt Romney, a Mormon.  Romney, of course, this weekend, announced that his running mate will be Paul Ryan, a Catholic.  Now I would not vote for someone simply because he is a Catholic, or against someone simply because he is a Mormon, or a Protestant, or whatever, but this weekend’s announcement is interesting to take note of (particularly for a Catholic blog).
          So who is Paul Ryan?  The 42 year-old representative from Wisconsin has served seven terms in Congress.  He is married with three children and is the chairman of the House Budget Committee (we’ve all heard of the “Ryan budget”).  Most importantly, he is solidly pro-life and brings his faith to bear on his public life, faithfully defending the Church’s teaching on social issues.  He is also one of the few actual adults currently serving in Washington, of either party.
          What sets Ryan apart from the vast majority of his fellow Congressmen is the respect and dignity with which he serves.  He is well liked, even by Democrats, and has the capacity for intelligent debate on big issues without vicious personal attacks (perhaps not something we’ll find familiar in a Presidential campaign).
          We will be hearing a lot about the “Ryan budget” during this campaign.  Some will try to tap into our understanding that we must use our moral compass when we vote to suggest that the fiscal restraint in the budget is a burden on the vulnerable and is morally unacceptable.  Do not be fooled; Mr. Ryan is a morally upstanding man.
          It is certainly fair to examine and criticize the budget.  As Catholics we can certainly disagree on it without being unfaithful to our Catholic principles.  However, the ads showing Mr. Ryan pushing old ladies over a cliff are not only dishonest, they are despicable.  Attempts to take a mature look at entitlement reform that seeks to preserve Medicare for future generations are responsible, not cruel.  And the budget does not threaten the health of senior citizens (unlike Obamacare).  The current deficit spending is morally indefensible and we should welcome any serious attempts to curb it.
          It should also be pointed out that Mr. Romney’s plan to extend the Bush tax cuts for everyone, if he keeps his promise to get rid of loopholes, will bring in more tax revenue from the highest earners.  Not to mention that a recent Ernst and Young study showed that Mr. Obama’s proposed tax hikes on “the rich” would actually include countless small business owners, and would cost just north of 700,000 jobs.
          Now I am not qualified to debate all the intricacies of both economic plans, and that is not my intent.  My only purpose is to counter the lies we will hear from some people (many who will be well-meaning) who will claim that as Catholics we must oppose the Republican economic plan on moral grounds.  Our Faith makes no such claim and on such issues of prudence, the Church trusts us to use our intellect.  Besides, as Catholics living in a country currently enslaved to the culture of death, we do not have the luxury of voting based on the economy to begin with.