Bishops support vice-presidential contender Paul Ryan

No fewer than three members of the Catholic hierarchy in the United States have spoken up for Catholic vice-presidential contender Paul Ryan, while refraining from endorsing his controversial candidacy.

The first was Ryan’s own bishop, Bishop Robert Morlino of Madison, Wisconsin.

Clearly concerned at attacks on Ryan since he was named Republican contender Mitt Romney’s running mate, Bishop Morlino vouched for Ryan’s Catholic bona fides in a column on his diocesan website.

Later the bishop said: “I know him very well. He is in regular communication with his bishop . . . . 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.”

Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York spoke about Ryan on a Catholic radio programme. He said they met at a Lutheran college where Ryan was the commencement speaker and talked for nine minutes on St Thomas Aquinas. “So we really started up a great correspondence and got to know each other very, very well.”

The cardinal said he was not trying to be an apologist for Ryan, but praised his “call for financial accountability and restraint and a balanced budget” as well as his “obvious solicitude for the poor”.

“So I admire him,” Cardinal Dolan said. “He’s honest. He’s refreshing. Do I agree with everything? No, but . . . I’m anxious to see him in action.”

Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila of Denver, Colorado, also wrote a column touching on Ryan’s economic policies, noting that his fiscal conservatism had been condemned as anti-Catholic, even by some bishops.

“I am not a policy expert,” the archbishop said.  “But claims that Paul Ryan’s plan run deeply counter to Catholic social teaching are unfounded and unreasonable. Some criticisms are so insidious that one wonders whether the critics have actually read Ryan’s plans.”


Catholic News Agency

National Catholic Register

National Review

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