Over 90 Georgetown faculty and administrators signed a letter criticizing Rep. Paul Ryan‘s (R-Wisc.) budget plan, which cuts antipoverty programs and undermines social welfare programs. The faculty disagrees with Ryan’s claims that the budget is inspired by Catholic moral teachings. The letter was released earlier today.
Ryan, Republican chairman of the House Budget, is scheduled to give the Whittington Lecture at Gaston Hall this Thursday. In the letter, the faculty and administrators emphasized that the intent was not to stop him from speaking at Georgetown, but merely to raise a significant concern about the “devastating consequences” of Ryan’s budget.
The scholars pointed specifically to the budget’s un-Catholic ideals:
In short, your budget appears to reflect the values of your favorite philosopher, Ayn Rand, rather than the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Her call to selfishness and her antagonism toward religion are antithetical to the Gospel values of compassion and love.
Among the signatories of the letter were Thomas J. Reese and Father Raymond B. Kemp, senior fellows of the Woodstock Theological Center. Others included several Jesuit priests and professors from the Theology, Government, History, and Philosophy departments as well as the School of Foreign Service and School of Nursing & Health Studies.
Ryan’s budget includes cuts which the letter argues will make it difficult for low-income families to gain access to higher-level education at colleges and universities like Georgetown. The letter also included a copy of the Vatican’s Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, “to help deepen your understanding of Catholic social teaching.”
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops also sent letters to members of Congress, including Ryan, with the same message. So far, Ryan’s response has indicated that he does not see these criticisms as representative of the entire Catholic community of bishops.