As the Catholic League helpfully points out, the fact that 90 faculty members of Georgetown University wrote in protest of Congressman Paul Ryan coming to speak on campus today gives him the same distinction as Francis Cardinal Arinze, whose visit to the campus in 2003 was greeted with a letter of protest by 70 members of the faculty.
They wrote, in part: “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 [blah, blah].”
Back in 1999, however, a visit to Georgetown U. by a hard-core pornographer was greeted with no protest from the faculty whatsoever. Now that’s what I would call being remiss in one’s duty — allowing that to happen without protest!
The lefties at Catholics United proudly posted a photo of their paltry protest staged outside where Congressman Ryan is speaking at Georgetown:
I count all of 11 protesters (if you count the dude with the guitar, because as we all know its not a protest unless someone brings a guitar…).
Even more rudely, a few protestors went inside and draped a banner from the balcony which read “Stop the war on the poor; no social justice in Ryan’s budget.”
This is all part of the Catholic Left’s ongoing efforts to discredit and demonize Congressman Ryan. Again, I think it’s so revealing to see how much of a fit the left has over him and his ideas.
Pushing back against their attempts by his liberal critics to claim he believes in the philosophy of Ayn Rand, he laughs it off and responds “If somebody is going to try to paste a person’s view on epistemology to me, then give me Thomas Aquinas.”
I guess I’m glad overall that the liberal Catholic groups and the lefty faculty members at Georgetown chose to protest Rep. Ryan’s speech, because hopefully it will draw more attention to it. Here is one of my favorite parts from the beginning of his speech:
I suppose there are some Catholics who for a long time have thought they had a monopoly of sorts . . . not exactly on heaven, but on the social teaching of our Church. Of course there can be differences among faithful Catholics on this.
The work I do as a Catholic holding office conforms to the social doctrine as best I can make of it. What I have to say about the social doctrine of the Church is from the viewpoint of a Catholic in politics applying my understanding to the problems of the day.
Serious problems like those we face today require charitable conversation. Civil public dialogue goes to the heart of solidarity, the virtue that does not divide society into classes and groups but builds up the common good of all.
The overarching threat to our whole society today is the exploding federal debt. The Holy Father, Pope Benedict, has charged that governments, communities, and individuals running up high debt levels are “living at the expense of future generations” and “living in untruth.”
We in this country still have a window of time before a debt-fueled economic crisis becomes inevitable. We can still take control before our own needy suffer the fate of Greece. How we do this is a question for prudential judgment, about which people of good will can differ.
If there was ever a time for serious but respectful discussion, among Catholics as well as those who don’t share our faith, that time is now.
I would urge you to take the time to read his whole speech and thing about it in terms of prudence and the Church’s social teaching.
UPDATE: George Weigel has good comments on Ryan’s speech as well as the left’s attacks, particularly this observation:
“…Ryan’s refusal to concede the moral high ground to the Catholic Left in the public-policy debate, plus the intelligence, good humor, and conviction he brings to these arguments, helps explain why he’s the Catholic Left’s worst nightmare. The Catholic Left recognizes that; and thus, predictably, things have turned chippy, even ugly.”