WASHINGTON, August 20, 2012 ( – In the last week three prominent US bishops have publicly defended Republican Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan’s reputation as a faithful Catholic amidst claims from some nuns and clergy who are claiming otherwise.  Denver Archbishop Samuel Aquila in a column about Ryan today notes “His fiscal perspective has been roundly condemned as being somehow anti-Catholic- even by a few American bishops.”

Aquila says: “Ryan is a Catholic and a fiscal conservative.”  While he says that “Ryan’s fiscal plans would dramatically cut some programs for the materially poor,” Bishop Aquila adds that “Ryan claims that his plans are rooted in the Christian sense of responsibility.” 


Both Bishop Aquila and Ryan’s own bishop – Madison Wisconsin Bishop Robert Morlino – outline in their statements that there are certain ‘non-negotiable’ issues such as abortion, same-sex marriage, and euthanasia which must always be opposed but that on other issues such as the economy there is room for different approaches to assisting the poor.

Thus, both bishops contradict those who question Ryan’s Catholicism based on his fiscal policy.

“Claims that Paul Ryan’s plan run deeply counter to Catholic social teaching are unfounded and unreasonable,” said Bishop Aquila. 

In an interview with the National Catholic Register, Bishop Morlino said: “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.”

New York Cardinal Dolan’s praise for Ryan came in an interview with Sirius Catholic Radio wherein he noted his close personal friendship with the candidate. “We go way back, Congressman Paul Ryan and I,” the cardinal said. “I came to know and admire him immensely. And I would consider him a friend. He and his wife Janna and their three kids have been guests in my house; I’ve been a guest at their house. They’re remarkably upright, refreshing people. And he’s a great public servant.”

Those prominently disparaging Ryan’s Catholicism based on his budget include ‘the Network’ a group of Catholic nuns currently on a nine-state 15-day anti-Ryan bus tour

Beyond that however is at least one bishop who was vocally critical of Ryan’s budget plan as immoral when it was approved by the House budget committee in May.  Bishop Stephen E. Blaire of Stockton, California, the Chair of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops noted in a press release of the US Bishops Conference, that Ryan’s budget failed to meet the “basic moral test.”


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