It’s one thing to disagree with the Church’s judgment on prudential matters. It’s another to suggest that a Catholic bishop is an ill-informed political pawn. Former Bush speechwriter Marc Thiessen makes such a charge in an online column for The Washington Post.
Using Obama’s campaign rhetoric, Bishop Stephen Blaire, chairman of the bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, recently wrote to Congress declaring that Ryan’s budget “fails to meet [the Church’s] moral criteria” because it does not require “shared sacrifice,” which Blaire [like Obama] defines as tax increases and cuts to “unnecessary” defense spending. Some of the proposed spending cuts in Ryan’s budget, Blaire said, are “unjust and wrong.”
Blaire has it backward. What is “unjust and wrong” is this bishop’s attack on a good Catholic layman.
Put aside for a moment the fact that “shared sacrifice” appears nowhere in the catechism of the Catholic Church. It is a reelection slogan for the Democratic Party. Put aside, as well, the fact that the bishop of Stockton, Calif., has near-zero competence to judge what military spending is necessary or unnecessary.
If Bishop Blaire were in cahoots with President Obama’s re-election campaign, his collaboration would be nothing less than a scandal. But Thiessen supplies no evidence for this accusation. He flings it at the bishop willy nilly.
Thiessen is also mistaken to direct his ire at Bishop Blaire. He should re-direct it at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. As the USCCB said through a spokesman, Bishop Blaire speaks for them on domestic policy.
Thiessen’s column makes an unsubstantiated charge and scapegoats a church official. Who is being unjust and wrong not only as a Catholic but also a columnist?