The US election and false moral equivalencies

From William McGurn in the Wall Street Journal:

The result for our politics is an extraordinary campaign, in the 10 days since Paul Ryan became the Republican candidate for vice president, by those on the Catholic left to strike a moral equivalence between Mr. Ryan’s reform budget and Democratic Catholic support for the party’s absolutist position on abortion.

Thus the column in the National Catholic Reporter characterizing Mr. Ryan as a “champion of dissent” regarding the church’s social teaching. Or the headline at the website Jezebel, “Badass Nun Says Paul Ryan is a Bad Catholic.” When this sort of thing seeps into the mainstream, it takes the form of the recent article in the Washington Post that found moral parallels between the two vice-presidential candidates: Mr. Ryan is a dissenter from “social justice,” while Vice President Joe Biden, also Catholic, dissents on issues such as same-sex marriage and abortion. (Source)

Ryan would be dissenting from Church teaching on “social justice” if he was advocating for an increase in poverty or indifference to poverty reduction, which is obviously not the case. Give credit to Ryan’s bishop,  the Most Rev. Robert C. Morlino, who debunked the moral equivalence myth, but I don’t think his voice carried as far as the numerous voices in the other camp. Most other bishops were too busy lobbying for bigger government entitlement programs, which drew this nugget from McGurn:

And while they [Catholic progressives] believe that the pope and bishops have nothing of value to offer about the sanctity of marriage or the duty of protecting unborn life, when it comes to federal spending, suddenly a miter means infallibility.

That explains why bishops should bite their tongues on economic issues for which people of good will can have honest disagreements based on prudential judgments. Otherwise they mislead and dilute the essentials.

Stick to the fundamentals of the Faith, your Graces.

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