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A Blast from the Past…Well, a Few Months Ago…

After the jump, a letter from members of the faculty of Georgetown University to Paul Ryan on the eve of a visit there back in April:

Dear Rep. Paul Ryan,

Welcome to Georgetown University. We appreciate your willingness to talk about how Catholic social teaching can help inform effective policy in dealing with the urgent challenges facing our country. As members of an academic community at a Catholic university, we see your visit on April 26 for the Whittington Lecture as an opportunity to discuss Catholic social teaching and its role in public policy.

However, we would be remiss in our duty to you and our students if we did not challenge your continuing misuse of Catholic teaching to defend a budget plan that decimates food programs for struggling families, radically weakens protections for the elderly and sick, and gives more tax breaks to the wealthiest few. As the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has wisely noted in several letters to Congress – “a just framework for future budgets cannot rely on disproportionate cuts in essential services to poor persons.” Catholic bishops recently wrote that “the House-passed budget resolution fails to meet these moral criteria.”

In short, your budget appears to reflect the values of your favorite philosopher, Ayn Rand, rather than the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Her call to selfishness and her antagonism toward religion are antithetical to the Gospel values of compassion and love.

Cuts to anti-hunger programs have devastating consequences. Last year, one in six Americans lived below the official poverty level and over 46 million Americans – almost half of them children – used food stamps for basic nutrition. We also know how cuts in Pell Grants will make it difficult for low-income students to pursue their educations at colleges across the nation, including Georgetown. At a time when charities are strained to the breaking point and local governments have a hard time paying for essential services, the federal government must not walk away from the most vulnerable.

While you often appeal to Catholic teaching on “subsidiarity” as a rationale for gutting government programs, you are profoundly misreading Church teaching. Subsidiarity is not a free pass to dismantle government programs and abandon the poor to their own devices. This often misused Catholic principle cuts both ways. It calls for solutions to be enacted as close to the level of local communities as possible. But it also demands that higher levels of government provide help — “subsidium”– when communities and local governments face problems beyond their means to address such as economic crises, high unemployment, endemic poverty and hunger. According to Pope Benedict XVI: “Subsidiarity must remain closely linked to the principle of solidarity and vice versa.”

Along with this letter, we have included a copy of the Vatican’s Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, commissioned by John Paul II, to help deepen your understanding of Catholic social teaching.

Respectfully,

Thomas J. Reese, S.J.
Senior Fellow
Woodstock Theological Center

Maurice Jackson
Associate Professor of History and African American Studies
Department of History

Angelyn Mitchell, PhD
Associate Professor of English and African American Studies
Department of English

Dolores R. Leckey
Senior Research Fellow
Woodstock Theological Center

Raymond B. Kemp
Senior Fellow
Woodstock Theological Center

Thomas Michel, S.J., Ph.D.
Senior Fellow
Woodstock Theological Center

Rita M. Rodriguez, MBA, PhD
Senior Fellow
Woodstock Theological Center

Hope LeGro
Director, Georgetown Languages
Georgetown University Press

Jackie Beilhart
Publicist
Georgetown University Press

John Langan, S.J.
Professor of Philosophy and Catholic Social Thought
Georgetown University

John F Haught, PhD
Senior Fellow
Woodstock Theological Center

Karen Stohr, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Philosophy, Senior Research Scholar, Kennedy Institute of Ethics
Department of Philosophy

Ilia Delio, OSF
Senior Fellow
Woodstock Theological Center

Joseph Schad, Mdiv
Chaplain, Mission and Pastoral Care
Georgetown University Hospital

J. Leon Hooper, S.J.
Director, Woodstock Library
Woodstock Theological Center Library

Joseph A. McCartin
Associate Professor of History; Director, Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor
Department of History

E. Hazel Denton, PhD
Adjunct Professor
School of Nursing and Health Studies

James Walsh, SJ, Phd
Associate Professor
Department of Theology

Scott Taylor
Associate Professor
School of Foreign Service

Sarah C Stiles, PhD, JD
Professor
Department of Sociology

Katherine Marshall, MPA
Visiting Assistant Professor
Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs

William C. McFadden, S.J.
Associate Professor of Theology
Georgetown University

Alan C. Mitchell, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of New Testament and Christian Origins
Georgetown University

Rev. Dr. Joseph Palacios
Adjunct Professor of Latin American Studies
Center for Latin American Studies

Julia A Lamm
Associate Professor of Theology
Theology Department

Peter C. Phan, Ph.D., D.D.
Professor of Catholic Social Thought
Georgetown University

William Rehg, SJ, PhD, MDiv, PhL, MA
Professor of Philosophy
Saint Louis University (visiting, Georgetown University)

Diana L. Hayes, JD, PhD, STD
Professor Emerita of Systematic Theology
Georgetown University

Edward Vacek, S.J.
Visiting Scholar
Woodstock Theological Center

Anthony Tambasco, PhD
Professor of Biblical Studies and Christian Ethics
Theology Department

Mark Lance, PhD
Professor of Philosophy, Professor of Justice and Peace
Georgetown University

Robert J. Bies, PhD, MBA
Professor of Management
McDonough School of Management

Benjamin Bogin, PhD
Assistant Professor
Theology Department

John W. O’Malley, S.J., PhD
University Professor
Theology Department

Lauve H. Steenhuisen, PhD
Visiting Assistant Professor
Theology Department

Linda Ferneyhough
Theology Dept. Administrator
Theology Department

Marilyn McMorrow
Visiting Assistant Professor International Relations and Political Theory
School of Foreign Service

Matthew Carnes, S.J., PhD
Assistant Professor of Government
Georgetown University

Diana Owen, PhD
Associate Professor
CCT/American Studies

Friederike Eigler (Ph.D.)
Professor of German
Georgetown University College

Ricardo L. Ortiz, PhD
Associate Professor of English
Department of English

David J. Collins, S.J., S.T.L., Ph.D.
Associate Professor of History
Georgetown University

Peter C. Pfeiffer, PhD
Professor
German Department

Julie Finnegan Stoner
Publishing Assistant
Georgetown University Press

Mary Helen Dupree
Assistant Professor of German
Georgetown University

Lan Ngo, S.J., M.A., MDiv.
Graduate Student
Department of History

Francis J. Ambrosio PhD
Associate Professor of Philosohy
Philosophy Department

Joseph H. Neale, Ph.D.
Paduano Distinguished Professor of Biology
Georgetown University College

Elizabeth Velez
Academic Director, Community Scholars
Professorial Lecturer, English Women’s and Gender Studies
Georgetown University College

Astrid Weigert
Assistant Professor of German
Department of German

John Rakestraw, PhD
Instructor of Theology
Center for New Designs in Learning & Scholarship

Susan F. Martin, PhD
Donald G. Herzberg Associate Professor of International Migration
School of Foreign Service

Eli S. McCarthy PhD
Adjunct Professor of Justice and Peace Studies
Center for Social Justice

Veronica Salles Reese
Associate Professor
Spanish Department

Francisca Cho, PhD
Professor of Buddhist Studies
Theology Department

Marcia Chatelain
Assistant Professor of History
Georgetown University

Heidi Byrnes, PhD
George M. Roth Distinguished Professor of German
German Department

Steven R. Sabat, Ph.D.
Professor of Psychology
College of Arts and Sciences

Marianne Lyons
Assistant Dean
School of Nursing & Health Studies

Ladan Eshkevari, PhD, CRNA
Assistant Professor
Georgetown University

John Kraemer, JD, MPH
Assistant Professor of Health Systems Administration
School of Nursing & Health Studies

Jose R Teruel, MD, MPH
Professor of International Health
School of Nursing and Health Studies

Elizabeth H. Andretta, Ph.D.
Visiting Associate Professsor
Georgetown University in Qatar

Jo Anne P Davis, PhD
Assistant Professor, Nursing
School of Nursing & Health Studies

Irene Anne Jillson, PhD
Assistant Professor
School of Nursing and Health Studies

Jeanne A. Matthews, PhD, RN
Chair and Assistant Professor, Department of Nursing
School of Nursing and Health Studies

Justin M. Owen, BSc(Eng)
Director of Medical Technologies
School of Nursing & Health Studies

Laura Anderko PhD RN
Scanlon Endowed Chair in Values Based Health Care
School of Nursing & Health Studies

Michael A. Stoto, PhD
Professor of Health Systems Administration and Population Health
School of Nursing & Health Studies and Pubic Policy Institute

Ronald Leow, Ph.D.
Professor of Applied Linguistics
Georgetown University

Rosemary Sokas, MD, MOH
Professor of Human Science
School of Nursing and Health Studies

Carol Taylor, PhD, RN
Professor of Nursing
School of Nursing and Health Studies

Robert J. Barnet MD, MA
Adjunct Professor of Medicine
School of Medicine

Leona M Fisher, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of English
Department of English

Jane Fitz-Simons MS,RN
Adjunct Faculty Nursing
Georgetown University

Mary Jane Mastorovich, MS
Asst. Professor, Health Systems Administration
Georgetown University

Edilma Yearwood, PhD, RN
Associate Professor of Nursing
School of Nursing & Health Studies

Wilfried Ver Eecke
Professor in Philosophy
Department of Philosophy

Sylvia E. Mullins, M.A.R in Theology
Graduate Student
Department of History

Terry Pinkard, PhD
University Professor
Department of Philosophy

Bryce Huebner, PhD
Assistant Professor of Philosophy
Georgetown University

Judith Baigis, PhD, RN, FAAN
Professor Emerita
School of Nursing & Health Studies

Patricia Mullahy Fugere
Adjunct Professor, JD Program
AB ’81; JD ’84; E.D., Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless

Henry Schwarz, PhD
Professor of English
Georgetown University

Judith Lichtenberg, PhD
Professor of Philosophy
Georgetown University

Joseph A. Chalmers, PhD
Retired Dean
Georgetown University

E. J. Dionne, Jr., D.Phil.
University Professor
Georgetown Public Policy Institute

Marlene Canlas, MA, MPH
Assistant Dean
Georgetown University

One Comment

  1. Lucinda Adams wrote:

    I appreciate reading your letter to Mr Ryan. It appears he doesn’t understand his own religion.

    Monday, August 13, 2012 at 8:01 am | Permalink