Conclusion of Boehner Commencement Saga

House Speaker John Boehner’s much-anticipated CUA Commencement address was the scene of yet another protest against the impact of House-inspired budget cuts on the poor. According to the Washington Post, about 30 graduate students engaged in a silent protest at the ceremony – wearing signs pinned to their gowns with messages like “Where’s the compassion, Mr. Boehner?”

Boehner made an important point about Catholic education when he observed in his address:

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Catholic has prepared you in a way no other institution can. The focus of your development here has been getting you to grapple more with WHO you want to be than WHAT you want to be. You’ve been challenged to think rationally, and to use your heart and your conscience to guide your words and your actions.

The students and faculty who remonstrated with the Speaker illustrated that call and that conscience when they stood up to defend Catholic social teaching regarding the poor and the guidance offered by the Bishops throughout the budget process.

In light of these protests I was hoping that Speaker Boehner would offer his thoughts on Catholic social teaching. How has Catholic social teaching affected him as a politician and policymaker? Does he give any credence to the teachings of the Bishops on the poor? How does he reconcile the political demands of his party and electorate with the demands of his conscience? Alas, he did not explore any of these in his remarks.

The Republican House leadership seems to be hurtling toward a head-on collision with the counsel of the American Bishops, and it is not just Boehner. Paul Ryan, another Catholic and the intellectual author of the Republican budget proposal, has offered cogent explanations about how his thought is consistent with that of atheist libertarian philosopher Ayn Rand. He has not, so far as I know, explained its relationship to the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church. I have heard multiple Republican elected officials explain in great detail how their social ideas are founded on those of Adam Smith, Milton Friedman or Ronald Reagan – but seldom on those of Thomas Aquinas, Leo XIII, the USCCB, or Benedict XVI. Speaker Boehner missed an important opportunity to explain his beliefs at CUA.

Clayton Sinyai

 

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Helena Loflin
7 years 4 months ago
Well stated, Mr. Sinyai.

I would be interested in hearing the Boehner/Ryan interpretation of Matthew 25:31-46.


7 years 4 months ago
Maybe Mr Sinya and other authors here at America should look at the failure of Catholic Social Teaching when it is implemented and mandated through public policy.  There is a long track record of one failure after the other.  Maybe that is the reason that many Catholics such as Boehner and Ryan look to other solutions to the problems of the poor, ones that might work in alleviating their poverty.


Again is something socially just when it hurts the poor?  Is so called social justice just an euphemism used for implementing one's political beliefs?
John Barbieri
7 years 4 months ago
" I thank thee, O Lord, for not making me like the rest of men..."
Whatever happened to: "In his own eyes, he was never a just man"?
 
Kang Dole
7 years 4 months ago
It won't get you as drunk as the In All Things Drinking Game™, but the John Boehner Crying drinking game is worth a try: a shot for every tear-streaked cheek.
Tom Maher
7 years 4 months ago
 

How reasonable is it that only people with PhDs in  theology and politcal science find a a case to be made againzst Boehner"?  This is one of the most exotic and elitist protest.   And thte protest is thin on solid recognizable principle and the appropriatness of making politcal jduegemnts using these doubious moral principles. supposed se coapplying applicability he theology department now prodcuing secret interpretations to the Gospel that only a select few who take their exotic courses know about.  What kind of Gospel message is this after 2000 years that  only a few know or agree to this myterious content and basis.

WHAT ABOUT THE MORAL INTERPRETATIONS OF PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT cATHOLIC OR EVEN CHRISTIAN?  Doesn't Boehner as a high public official not have a public duty to reperesent people with ofther moral standards or interpretations of the Gospel?  Boehner himself rejects the protestors interpretations of the Gospel nd its misused application to politics. 

7 years 4 months ago
There was an article on the internet yesterday about libertarianism and selfishness.  In it there is a quote from Hayek about what is effective.


''True individualism affirms the value of the family and all the common efforts of the small community and group . . .

Here is the link for those interested:


http://volokh.com/2011/05/14/libertarianism-and-selfishness/


Again, if a government policy is meant to be socially just and ends up hurting the poor, is the policy socially just because those who mandate it say it is?


And by the way I am not a libertarian but have symphathy for many of its ideas just as Paul Ryan does because many of the ideas lead to a more proserous society that ends up helping the poor.  If you want to see the really poor in this world, look at Chad, Niger or Burkina Faso.  And we have protectionist policies in this country that directly affect this area of Africa negatively.  Maybe the Catholic Professors should direct their attention in that direction and see true poverty.  I betcha all the conservative commenters here would get on board with that.
7 years 4 months ago
I apologize.  The quote I listed in the previous comment somehow got abbreviated.  Here is the full quote:


 ''True individualism affirms the value of the family and all the common efforts of the small community and group . . .
KEN LOVASIK
7 years 4 months ago
I am not sympathetic or supportive of those in the federal government who would balance the budget on the backs of those who have the least in our society, and as a Christian, I firmly believe that the teachings of Jesus have everything to do with reaching out those least fortunate among us.

I do think, however, that the statements of the US Council of Catholic Bishops concerning the US economy and the steps necessary to balance the budget are, in the truest sense of the word, prophetic:  unpopular, challenging, unsettling to those who exercise leadership in the federal government.

As J. S. Cosgrove has pointed out in his post, Jesus' words are addressed to those who would follow Him.  We, who profess to be His followers, indeed His living presence in the world - regardless of what ecclesial community we belong to - are held accountable by the Lord for our own personal response to His teachings, for our response - or lack of response - to the needs of the most powerless among us. 
7 years 4 months ago
This is interesting.  The systems is cutting off automatically part of a quote when it appears to include an ellipsis.  It was in the preview but not in the actual post.  So here is the quote without the ellipsis but with a hyphen.  I hope it gets into the actual comment.


True individualism affirms the value of the family and all the common efforts of the small community and group - and believes in local autonomy and voluntary associations - Indeed, its case rest largely on the contention that much for which the coercive action of the state is usually invoked can be done better by voluntary collaboration. 
7 years 4 months ago
Usually I try not to post  about the self styled  politcal theologians who post here, over and over.
But, the 'elitist" labelling argument is a canard with no argumentative base.
Of course, the Gospels enjoin poltical action - only those caught up in their ("true" whatever that means) individualism can't see that.
I think Fr. Kavangh's piece on this site is most apropos.

Helena Loflin
7 years 4 months ago
Boehner and Ryan are the embodiment of conservative elitism.

Second only to the elitism companion to the conservative activism of the current U.S. Supreme Court.
RUTH ANN PILNEY
7 years 4 months ago
I read Boehner's prepared speech about humility, patience, and faith.  It's inspiring!
Tom Maher
7 years 4 months ago
Mr. Nunz (#12)

The way argumentation and debate works is that public proponents of an issue such as the public letter stating the jdugement that Speaker Boehner is not following church teachings in by his votes in Congress needs to be fully explain their arguments.  It can not asserted as self-evident or taken on their say-so or assumed to be so. 

But this public letter failed to explain or justify its radical political conclusions that the Catholic teachings requires certain very specific actions  on the part of Catholic  government officiasls.   What are they talking about?  Is this a new Gospel interprretaion not heard of beofre in 2000 years. 

It is most interesting to hear a number of Catholics say they have had 16 yeasrs of Catholic education but never heard of the ideas of "disributed justice" which sound more like Fidel Castro circa 1960 than traditional churh teaching.  Marxism or collectivism as church teaching has never been heard of by the public.

On a few Catholic insiders have any idea what they are saying. This is elitist interpretation of the Gospel.
7 years 4 months ago
I've said enough about this topic, but I'll be waiting with baited breath for the America commentator to ask Gov. Cuomo to justify his Catholic faith with this apparent outright support for legalizing same sex marriage.  Not much grey area there.  But I'll keep waiting.
Kang Dole
7 years 4 months ago
"A church-going working man's speech"

Damn, David: now you've got me tearing up. I'm gonna go watch some Lee Greenwood videos on youtube.

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