Catholic Social Teaching: A Case Study for Evangelicals
The Aquila Report has published an article by me on the decades-old struggle over the political significance of Roman Catholic social teaching. Here is a teaser, but I hope you’ll read the rest of the article on the Aquila Report:
Many Evangelicals are not very familiar with Catholic social teaching, though they do tend to like conservative Catholic leaders like Republican Congressman Paul Ryan. Yet it is worth paying attention to what makes Catholic conservatives like Ryan tick, as well as to what brings them criticism from left-leaning Catholics. Not only does the tradition of Catholic social teaching have an immense amount of wisdom to teach us; there is always much to learn from watching how politicians and pundits try to turn theological principles into concrete proposals of policy.Ryan described the way in which Catholic theology shaped his budget plan in an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network. Particularly noteworthy was his appeal to two very important principles of Catholic social thought, generally endorsed by both conservatives and liberals.On the principle of subsidiarity:Ryan said that the principle of subsidiarity — a notion, rooted in Catholic social teaching, that decisions are best made at most local level available — guided his thinking on budget planning.“To me, the principle of subsidiarity, which is really federalism, meaning government closest to the people governs best, having a civil society … where we, through our civic organizations, through our churches, through our charities, through all of our different groups where we interact with people as a community, that’s how we advance the common good,” Ryan said.