"Academics" Criticize Boehner But Betray Their Indifference to Obama’s Abortion Agenda
A group of Catholic “academics” has delivered a letter to Speaker of the House John Boehner’s office critical of the recent budget passed by the House of Representatives.
There are several problems with this letter.
First, the “academics” released the letter to the National Catholic Reporter and other media outlets before delivering it to the Speaker’s office. This is a total Washington tactic. Are their true intentions to have a dialogue on policy debates or to just get attention?
Second, their timing coincides with Speaker Boehner’s remarks during a commencement address at The Catholic University of America on Saturday, May 14, 2011. The House of Representatives passed the budget on April 15, 2011 – nearly a month ago – where has their public concern been for the last month?
Third, were these same “academics” who are taking this opportunity to “educate” the Speaker on his faith just as outraged when the pro-abortion, pro-same sex marriage President Barack Obama addressed Notre Dame’s commencement in 2009? Did they take the same approach and send a similar letter to the President then urging him to reconsider his position on our Church’s settled issues – life and marriage?
Fourth, in the letter these “academics” express concern about perceived cuts to Medicaid and Medicare. Were these same “academics” concerned about these programs during the debate on The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) “Obamacare?” The same bill, safe to assume several of these “academics” likely supported, cut $523 billion from Medicare and increased the Medicaid burden on states, and was overwhelmingly opposed by the governors responsible for administering Medicaid.
Fifth, these “academics” close their letter by “commending” to the Speaker paragraph 355 of the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church which says:
“355. Tax revenues and public spending take on crucial economic importance for every civil and political community. The goal to be sought is public financing that is itself capable of becoming an instrument of development and solidarity. Just, efficient and effective public financing will have very positive effects on the economy, because it will encourage employment growth and sustain business and non-profit activities and help to increase the credibility of the State as the guarantor of systems of social insurance and protection that are designed above all to protect the weakest members of society.
“Public spending is directed to the common good when certain fundamental principles are observed: the payment of taxes  as part of the duty of solidarity; a reasonable and fair application of taxes; precision and integrity in administering and distributing public resources. In the redistribution of resources, public spending must observe the principles of solidarity, equality and making use of talents. It must also pay greater attention to families, designating an adequate amount of resources for this purpose.”
These same “academics” were probably using this rationale to justify the failed $787 billion stimulus that has not created the jobs promised by its supporters. Were they concerned then about the lack of true economic growth in the stimulus plan, what it would truly do to help the unemployed, and how that spending has contributed to our country’s current financial dilemma?
As Catholic Advocate published in one of our recent editions of “Issues for Catholic Voters”, “The well-being of our families, communities, and nation depends on the success of business and industry to create wealth. The greater the growth of industry, the more stable our society becomes: ‘Another name for peace is development. Just as there is a collective responsibility for avoiding war, so too there is a collective responsibility for promoting development’ (Centesimus Annus, 52).”
The academics in their letter reveal the flaw in their argument when they state, “Catholic social doctrine is not merely a set of goals to be achieved by whatever means one chooses.” They are in essence saying the only solution to how the government functions is their world view of status quo, out-of-control federal spending, which our country cannot sustain, that is handicapping economic growth and will lead to crippling taxes, and burdens on the people they claim they are defending.
Americans know we are in a financial crisis. Our leaders have a responsibility to look at every federal program for effectiveness and the best way to provide for the citizenry. The Compendium discusses this in paragraph 187:
“The principle of subsidiarity is opposed to certain forms of centralization, bureaucratization, and welfare assistance and to the unjustified and excessive presence of the State in public mechanisms. ‘By intervening directly and depriving society of its responsibility, the Social Assistance State 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’. An absent or insufficient recognition of private initiative — in economic matters also — and the failure to recognize its public function, contribute to the undermining of the principle of subsidiarity, as monopolies do as well.”
Finally, since the “academics” “commended” the Speaker to read the Compendium, they probably should have continued reading as well down to paragraph 574 where it states:
“In any case, ‘no one is permitted to identify the authority of the Church exclusively with his own opinion’ ; believers should rather ‘try to guide each other by sincere dialogue in a spirit of mutual charity and with anxious interest above all in the common good’ .”
The tone of this letter from the “academics” attempts sincere dialogue, but the timing and delivery nullify their “concerns” and reduce them to cheap political theater at the expense of the students at The Catholic University of America’s commencement.
Yes, it is a non-negotiable teaching of our Church to care for the poor. How that is achieved is up for debate.
By Matt Smith, Vice President of Catholic Advocate