… by the name of Paul Ryan (R-Wis). I’m sure you’ve heard of him. Romney is scheduled to announce his choice publicly on Saturday morning in Norfolk, Virginia. If Ryan is indeed Mitt Romney’s choice, there will be plenty to discuss in terms of politics and policy. But what will also be very interesting is how Ryan will be perceived and painted by Catholics, especially those who think his budget proposals are directly opposed to Catholic social doctrine—even though they aren’t.
In short, selecting Ryan would open up even further discussion of essential principles of Catholic social doctrine—some of which, such as subsidiarity, have been essentially ignored for decades; some of which, such as social justice, have been essentially co-opted and wildly misrepresented for decades; some of which, such as the personalist principle, have been pushed to the side or hidden due to either embarrassment or disdain. Why would such discussions likely take place? Because Ryan himself openly appeals to the principle of subsidiarity and insists his approach to budgetary measures is guided by Catholic social doctrine. And because his critics, such as the Georgetown profs and faculty members who sought to lecture him on social doctrine, accuse Ryan of “misuse of Catholic teaching” while trying to depict him as a disciple of Ayn Rand, which is not only dubious but is rather curious considering how few Georgetown profs and faculty members are really concerned about explaining, defending, and promoting authentic Magisterial teaching.
The choice of Ryan will further harden the already strong lines between those Catholics following and supporting the bishops’ unified opposition to the HHS mandate and those Catholics who continue to state—without much evidence or logic—that such opposition is not only misguided but rooted in cynical, measured partisanship. At this point, it’s difficult to avoid the conclusion that the Obama administration is the most openly anti-Catholic, hyper-statist, Constitutionally-challenged administration in U.S. history. The contrast between Romney and Obama might not always be as dramatic as many would like, but the contrast between Ryan and Biden is certainly more glaring, obvious, and—especially for Catholics—telling.