Protesters display an anti-GOP banner at Georgetown University. The banner was there for the majority of Ryan's address.
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) delivered an address titled “America's Enduring Promise” at Georgetown University Thursday morning.
His appearance prompted backlash from approximately 90 Georgetown faculty members and a certain Soros-linked “Catholic” group, both who argue Rep. Ryan’s budget is designed to help the rich at the expense of the poor.
Rep. Ryan, himself a Catholic, has said the Catholic faith helped influence the GOP House budget.
In an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network, Rep. Ryan talked about the Catholic idea of "subsidiarity," saying it means "not having big government crowd out civic society, but ... having enough space in our communities so that we can interact with each other" and take care of people.
"To me, the principle of subsidiarity, which is really federalism, meaning government closest to the people governs best," he said.
But some at Georgetown are convinced the Wisconsin Congressman just doesn't understand the true meaning of subsidiarity.
As Ryan's speaking engagement approached, the offended faculty members sent him a letter accusing him of misusing Catholic doctrine to support his GOP House budget: “We appreciate your willingness to talk about how Catholic social teaching can help inform effective policy in dealing with the urgent challenges facing our country.”
(Related: Georgetown professors send Paul Ryan unorthodox welcome letter before campus visit, criticize his ‘misuse of Catholic teaching’)
“[W]e would be remiss … if we did not challenge your continuing misuse of Catholic teaching to defend a budget plan that decimates food programs for struggling families, radically weakens protections for the elderly and sick and gives more tax breaks to the wealthiest few,” their letter says.
And then there’s the “Catholic” group Catholics United:
...Oppos[e] the Ryan Budget, Which Gives Tax Breaks to the Wealthy at Expense of the Poor.
…a growing drumbeat of Catholic backlash against Rep. Paul Ryan for his immoral budget proposal, Catholics and people of faith
Faculty at Georgetown University, and now even the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, have condemned Ryan’s budget as failing the moral test incumbent upon people of faith.
But let’s take a deeper look at this “Catholic” group. Although Catholics United claims it’s a nonpartisan group dedicated to social justice, the group’s backing may indicate that it is anything but nonpartisan.
“The Soros-funded Tides Foundation has given $65,000 to the organization since 2007, and has given nearly $200,000 to the affiliated group Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good [emphasis added],” the Washington Free Beacon reports.
Catholic League president Bill Donohue refers to Catholics United as a “Soros-funded front group” which has been “created for the sole purpose of promoting liberal policies” that are contrary to teachings of the Catholic Church, according to the same report.
“They don’t have legitimate membership,” he told the Washington Free Beacon. “But every election year they get resurrected.”
Catholics United was established during the 2004 election cycle as a left-leaning religious group dedicated to the purpose of countering traditionally conservative groups, the Washington Times reports.
Rep. Ryan speaks at Georgetown University
“Liberal folks realized that religion was important to the electorate and if you can’t beat them, not only join them but appropriate their brand,” the Times' Julia Duin writes.
Therefore, it's not too surprising that the "left-wing" organization threw its support behind President Obama in 2008, denounced the anti-abortion Susan B. Anthony group as "extremists," and condemned former GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum for his “overstated positions on social issues.”'
But this hasn't stopped members of Georgetown's faculty from aligning themselves with this highly questionable group; they are convinced Rep. Ryan has hijacked Catholic teaching as a “rationale for gutting government programs,” according to Fox News.
"Subsidiarity is not a free pass to dismantle government programs and abandon the poor to their own device," the aforementioned letter to Ryan says.
Rep. Ryan speaks at Georgetown University
"It calls for solutions to be enacted as close to the level of local communities as possible. But it also demands that higher levels of government provide help -- 'subsidium'-- when communities and local governments face problems beyond their means to address such as economic crises, high unemployment, endemic poverty and hunger."
The Ryan budget, they said, "fails to meet these moral criteria,” CNN Money reports.
Rep. Ryan has responded to his "Catholic" critics by politely pointing out increased government spending doesn't necessarily mean the lives of the poor will be improved.
Read the Beacon's full report here / See Rep. Ryan's address here
This story has been updated.