Rep. Paul Ryan, an ardent Catholic who adheres to Church teaching, has a unique platform to voice concerns relevant to all Americans and, especially, to Catholics who have come under attack from the Obama Administration.
Ryan’s critics have already smeared his budget proposal. The liberal wing of the Catholic press says that it hurts the poor or doesn’t tax the rich enough. The Catholic Church does not give specific policy guidelines in its teachings but it does advocate for the poor and insist that government, as well as private groups and citizens, do their part to help the downtrodden in our society.
When I was a teenager, I kept my mom up at night when I went into New York City with the Missionaries of Charity, Mother Teresa’s order of nuns, to feed the poor on the streets. I went on to later volunteer at their AIDS home in Washington, D.C, helping to take care of the sick women who lived there. It broke my heart to see such suffering but it gave me hope to see the sisters and their concern for these poor souls.
I would rather have these nuns caring for the poor than any government-run program. The Catholic Church, while recognizing the role that government can play in society, also believes that groups like Mother Teresa’s sisters, should be on the front lines in helping the poor -- not the government.
The Catholic Church calls this approach the principle of subsidiarity, which means that individuals, families and communities should be free to care for their own needs and the needs of others on a level apart from the government. Too much government regulation and control over our daily lives can lead to the removal of personal liberty and individual freedom. Paul Ryan adheres to these principles and attempted to put them into action in his budget.
Like other charities, the Missionaries of Charity are dependent upon the goodwill of others. As the economy suffers, so they suffer, and those they care for, as well. When families are struggling to make ends meet or can’t find work, charitable donations are substantially lessened.
Catholics like Paul Ryan understand that Medicare and Social Security will not be around for their kids – nor will the resources needed to fund community groups that do take care of the poor - if no action is taken now.
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