The National Catholic Register reports on “comments and objections raised by several bishops” at the USCCB meeting in Atlanta that “challenged the specificity of some heavily publicized statements”, such as Bishop Blair’s criticisms in April of Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget:
“There have been some concerns raised by lay Catholics, especially some Catholic economists, about what was perceived as a partisan action against Congressman Ryan and the budget he had proposed,” said Bishop Boyea. That statement “didn’t really further dialogue in our deeply divided country.”
In his view, statements that endorsed specific economic policies revealed a lack of “humility.” He told the assembly, “We need to learn far more than we need to teach in this area. We need to listen more than we need to speak. We already have an excellent, fine Compendium [of the Social Doctrine of the Church].”
Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, Kan., agreed that the committee was “at times perceived as partisan” and neglected the principle of subsidiarity, which calls for solutions that can be provided close to people in need.
Archbishop Naumann suggested that drafters of the statement needed to rethink a tendency to advocate for government assistance, and he said that the conference’s proposals should not ignore the ballooning national deficit.
“Sometimes we’re perceived as just encouraging the government to spend more money, with no realistic way of how we’re going to afford to do this,” he observed.
A third statement, by Archbishop Allen Vigneron of Detroit, echoed Archbishop Naumann’s suggestion that the proposed document focus more on the family as the central social institution and spoke of how the “disintegration of the family” had fueled the demand for government assistance.