House Budget Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) says his Catholic faith helped shape the Republican budget plan by stressing local control and concern for the poor, according to an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network released Tuesday.
“A person’s faith is central to how they conduct themselves, in public and in private, so to me, using my Catholic faith, we call it the social magisterium, which is: How do you apply the doctrine of your teaching into your everyday life as a lay person?” he said.
Ryan said that the principle of subsidiarity — a notion, rooted in Catholic social teaching, that decisions are best made at most local level available — guided his thinking on budget planning.
“To me, the principle of subsidiarity, which is really federalism, meaning government closest to the people governs best, having a civil society … where we, through our civic organizations, through our churches, through our charities, through all of our different groups where we interact with people as a community, that’s how we advance the common good,” Ryan said.
The Wisconsin Republican said that he also drew on Catholic teachings regarding concern for the poor, and his interpretation of how that translated into government policy.
“[T]he preferential option for the poor, which is one of the primary tenants of Catholic social teaching, means don’t keep people poor, don’t make people dependent on government so that they stay stuck at their station in life, help people get out of poverty out onto life of independence,” said Ryan.Subsidiarity is the bedrock of Catholic social teaching. It is the principle that government action should be limited to what is genuinely necessary and cannot be done privately, and that government should act at the lowest level possible to accomplish things. Subsidiarity is the repudiation of Big Government, and is the anthesis of totalitarianism.
Ryan is exactly right to invoke it. How refreshing. In my view, many of my liberal-leaning Catholic brethren, bishops included, have erred by proposing social changes via huge government projects rather than seeking solutions closer to the individual and the family and the community.
Subsidiarity is the antithesis of big government liberalism, and Catholics need to stand up for genuine Catholic social teaching.
Bravo, Mr. Ryan. May I suggest that Mitt Romney look to him as a superbly qualified running mate?