On Wisconsin!

Thanks to the candidacy of Paul Ryan, we are about to see religious voices in Wisconsin come into conflict. Indeed, it has already begun.

Bishop Robert Morlino posted a column about Ryan's candidacy that has some interesting claims, for example, the idea that violating the right to private property is an intrinsic evil. I had never read that before - not in Aquinas, Augustine, or any more recent Catholic ethicists. In fact, it is a fairly well-established principle of Catholic social teaching that the right to private property is not absolute at all. Absolute and intrinsic are not the same thing, and I honestly can't think how an issue regarding property rights involves an intrinsic evil. Ditto his lumping religious liberty into the category of intrinsic evil.

More disturbing was Morlino's comment in an interview with the National Catholic Register. He said:

“I am defending his reputation because I am the one who, as his diocesan bishop, should have something to say about this, if anyone does,” Bishop Morlino told the Register during an Aug. 15 telephone interview.

“Since others have, I believe, unfairly attacked his reputation, I have to look out for his good name. That is Church law. If someone disagrees with Paul, he is free to do that. But not on the basis of reputation destruction, really calumny,” he added.

“They say things about him that aren’t true. I am not a defender of Paul Ryan; I am a defender of reputations of Catholics in the public sphere whose reputations are unjustly attacked.”

I cannot think of anyone who has attacked Mr. Ryan's personal reputation. Everyone I know, even people who disagree with him strongly, say he is a hell of a nice guy, a family man, etc. It is his ideas that are at issue. But, Morlino's comment about "if anyone does" struck me as an intimation to the USCCB to back off, no? Bishop Martino in Scranton said something similar you may recall a few years back.

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Meanwhile, a group of Catholics who seem more familiar with Ryan's ideology, or with Catholic social teaching, or both, has started a website asking people to pray for Congressman Ryan's conversion of heart.

On Wisconsin!


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