Thursday, May 26, 2011

Catholic Ethicist Daniel Maguire on USCCB President Timothy Dolan's "Love Letter" to Paul Ryan

Also noteworthy today: Marquette University ethics professor Daniel Maguire's assessment of the recent love letter that the head of the U.S. Catholic bishops Timothy Dolan wrote Representative Paul Ryan.  Though Ryan seems to have only the most tenuous possible passing acquaintance with Catholic social teaching and with the preferential option for the poor that animates this teaching, and though he has stated that his social philosophy is radically influenced by the self-centered social Darwinism of Ayn Rand, the USCCB president has essentially given Ryan his blessing and imprimatur.  

While he lays into Catholic thinkers who even begin to imagine deviating from the Catholic magisterial party line on issues like contraception, abortion, or homosexuality.  As Maguire notes, he himself experienced the rough side of Dolan's tongue in a letter Dolan wrote him as archbishop of Milwaukee, which characterized Maguire's moral theology as "preposterous and disingenuous," and "totally at odds with clear Church teaching, Sacred Scripture, the Magisterium, and Natural Law."

Ryan, by contrast, receives from Dolan a missive that is, in Maguire's view, a "mellifluous effusion" dripping with "adulatory congratulations" and "sweet nothings."  If Dolan were acting "in Jesus mode" (and not qua the mouthpiece of the Catholic Republican American Party [CRAP] that he actually is), he'd come to conclusions similar to those of the seventy Catholic scholars who recently took Speaker Boehner to task for promoting social and economic programs that attack and damage the least among us:

Could you not be as tough as Jesus was when he rebuked those in power who were mouthing pieties, while stripping the poor and favoring the pillaging rich? “Whitened sepulchers,” Jesus called them, covered with platitudinous posturing on the outside but inside filled with the stench of moral decay. “Hypocrites,” Jesus called them repeatedly, “blind guides” who are “fit for hell.” “Outside you look like honest men, but inside you are brimful of hypocrisy and crime.” (Matthew 23)

Nothing tepid about Jesus when poor workers and children were being trampled.

But, then, Archbishop Dolan doesn't intend to speak and act "in Jesus mode."  Not as long as he is  financed by, indebted to, and answerable to the Republican business leaders to whom he and other U.S. Catholic bishops have sold their soul.

For whom Jesus and his teachings clearly mean far less than Ayn Rand does.

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