My headline is as preposterous as concerns that New York’s archbishop endorsed Paul Ryan’s budget.
The Ryan-Archbishop Dolan exchange was an exercise in discerning leadership. Everyone who says the archbishop didn’t endorse the Republican budget is, of course, absolutely right. It’s also absolutely right to say it was a bit of a milestone. Religious women — from the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious — who voiced their concerns about the health-care legislation passed over a year ago were almost entirely drowned out by “progressive” sisters Nancy Pelosi would thank God for. But “progressives” far from own Catholic social thought.
Archbishop Dolan has voiced his concerns about the “rift that has taken place in the social justice activity of the church throughout the world” where “the economic social justice people and the pro-life social justice people” are at “loggerheads.” The Paul Ryan exchange with the archbishop helps chip away at this conventional political divide. Why wouldn’t Archbishop Dolan, the president of the bishop’s conference, encourage it?
I have a piece in the National Catholic Register today about Washington grappling with Catholic social thought. House Speaker John Boehner speaking at the Catholic University of America Commencement last weekend is the occasion for it, but the letter exchange comes up, too.
I know some (who might be inclined to endorse, say, John Kerry for president) are hoping for a further clarification of Archbishop Dolan’s letter. I hope for a continuing serious conversation about ethics and public policy (as one of my favorite think tanks — home to George Weigel and Ed Whelan, Yuval Levin, James Capretta and others — might put it).