Rep. Ryan hits back at Catholic class warfare question
Rep. Paul Ryan says he doesn't believe the Catholic Church is preaching class warfare.
October 26th, 2011
05:40 PM ET

Rep. Ryan hits back at Catholic class warfare question

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Washington (CNN) - Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, waded into a bit of economic theology Wednesday.  The staunch Catholic, who recently told CNN that he gave up fear for Lent, was asked about the collision of his faith in finance and his faith in the church.

The Vatican put out a new financial document Monday called "Towards reforming the international financial and monetary systems in the context of a global public authority."  The document calls for a new global economic authority that could impose penalties on member states as a “way of ensuring that they possess efficient markets,” Roman Catholic Bishop Mario Toso said at a Monday news conference.

While speaking at an event at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank in Washington, D.C., Ryan was asked about the document and the pope's latest encyclical, which also touched on economics and finance.

The questioner asked if the pope's fiscal philosophy amounted to class warfare. In his June 2009 encyclical Caritas in Veritate, Pope Benedict XVI wrote to the faithful, "Today's international economic scene, marked by grave deviations and failures, requires a profoundly new way of understanding business enterprise."

"It's been awhile since I read that one. Um, I actually do read these. I'm a good Catholic, you know ... get in trouble if I don't," joked Ryan, drawing laughter from the crowd.

Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, said he had skimmed the Vatican's document released Monday but kept his comments mainly to the pope's encyclical.

"You could interpret these in different ways. If you read the totality of these encyclicals - that one in particular - I think you could derive different lessons from it. What I think he is probably getting at - and look, I am getting out on a limb here ... read 'Without Roots,' a book he wrote when he was then Cardinal Ratzinger with Marcello Pera, president of the Italian Senate at the time, a phenomenal piece going at the roots of moral relativism," Ryan said.

The pope, he continued, "is talking about the extreme edge of individualism predicated upon moral relativism - that produces bad results in society for people and families, and I think that's the kind of thing he is talking about."

"So, do I believe that we should have some kind of international system of dividing the pie? No, and I don't think that's what he is calling for," Ryan said.

"I believe that the social Magisterium - again, I am saying this as a Catholic - is very helpful and it does not pick which of the two philosophies between the left and the right are right or wrong. That is up to the prudential judgment of lay people who are practicing, practice as politicians."

CNN's Dan Gilgoff contributed to this report

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Christianity • Church and state • Politics • Pope Benedict XVI

soundoff (175 Responses)
  1. Numyorangay

    This man's a walkin' freak show.

    October 28, 2011 at 4:39 am |
  2. Beefburger

    Was Jesus a capitalist?

    October 28, 2011 at 2:52 am |
  3. putamerica1st


    Your no more a staunch Catholic than you are a compassionate human being. You better hope the Rapture is not near, because your but wouldn't be going anywhere. I can hear it now! ST. Peter asks you want you have done with your life. And you respond, Well I have spent my life seeing to it that the Gluttons of the world are kept fat, and making sure the poor and the working poor don't have healthcare, aren't provided a livable wage, and that if they can't make it – it is nobody's fault but their own. So if they can't eat, It's not my problem. If they have no home. It's not my problem! If they are sick – It's not my problem. ANd what I am MOST proud of is that I was able to become a Multi-Millionaire by promugating laws that made my benefactos Filthy Rich".

    Ok – all you readers, all you christians, all you Catholics, all you Jews – What would St. Peter's response be?

    Robert Ryan being a bought and paid for representative of the wealthy while caliming to be a staunch Catholic make you a Human Pile of Sh&t ...err I mean Doggy Doo.


    You represent a People that is desire to remove all societal safe guards for the poor

    October 28, 2011 at 2:09 am |
  4. Aaron

    Ryan is nothing but an agent for the billionaire Koch brothers. The Church needs to excommunicate him.

    October 28, 2011 at 1:57 am |
  5. Wanderer81

    Simple solution...which Party serves the poor?

    October 27, 2011 at 11:31 pm |
    • Independent2012

      Neither Party represents the poor. Wake up and take a look at what's going on around you. The Democrats haven't been the peoples party since Clinton left office. A party who supports the poor doesn't help outsource jobs the poor need to other countries. A party that helps the poor recognizes that international aid from the US should be cut due to the struggling economy here. BOTH parties have failed miserably. It's a joke to insinuate that one is in any way better represents the poor and struggling in the United States.

      October 28, 2011 at 8:14 am |
  6. hagjohn

    Obviously, both is voting record and his mouth lets you knows nothing about being a Catholic. Greed is one of the seven deadly sins. Matthew 19:21, Matthew 25:35-46, 1 John 3:17-18, Luke 14:13, Luke 18:22, Luke 20:46-47 .. and there are plenty more.

    October 27, 2011 at 11:23 pm |
  7. Soporifix

    Translation of Ryan's response: "I only pay attention to things I agree with."

    October 27, 2011 at 9:42 pm |
  8. obamamnesty

    One World Order ran by whom? The church? The rich? How about Obama? Soros, Buffett or how about Gates. Who spreads the wealth to whom.

    October 27, 2011 at 9:35 pm |
    • G-D

      Being there that the overall wealth is now within the pockets of say 1% oh hell say 5% of the world's population, any globalized monetary federation will see to it that the money stays in their pockets,,, Duh,,, 🙁 😐 🙁

      October 27, 2011 at 9:44 pm |
  9. aksdad

    I have great respect for Rep. Ryan as well Pope Benedict XVI. Ryan makes it clear he doesn't agree with the idea of a "global authority" and if that's what the Pope really meant, the Pope demonstrates a lack of understanding about how free markets work and of the numerous unintended negative consequences of having just such a global authority. The Pope's larger concern seems to be the spiritual degradation that comes from elevating the pursuit of money above all other considerations which is a valid problem. The solution however, is not to impose some sort of super-powerful regulatory committee which is obviously a bad idea, but to do what the Church does best: preach the value of balancing personal economic pursuits with a healthy measure of (personal) charity.

    October 27, 2011 at 9:21 pm |
    • G-D

      @ aksdad, et al, "The solution however, is not to impose some sort of super-powerful regulatory committee which is obviously a bad idea, but to do what the Church does best: preach the value of balancing personal economic pursuits with a healthy measure of (personal) charity."

      "personal" economic pursuits,,,,,,,,,,,, Just exactly how is this to be done?

      and a "healthy" measure of personal charity to who(m)? The church of the RCC? A wh0re of a religion that alreay fosters a rather healthy bankroll of past charities and has given so much back to the poor and the needy,,,,Right? What a fu<king joke!!! 🙁 🙁 😐

      October 27, 2011 at 9:32 pm |
    • G-D

      aksdad,, et al,,,

      There will come a time if not soon when a secular socialist with leanings toward (anti) theism running the gauntlets who will eventually globalize monetary federalism and when this happens,,,, take a number folks,,, or else!!!!!!!!!!! 🙁 😐 🙁

      October 27, 2011 at 9:38 pm |
    • Dan5404

      The entire philosophical discussion is irrelevant to the nearly all voters. The majority wants two things: big cuts in spending with significant revenue and protection of Social security, Medicare anf Medicaid as much as possible..or, in other words, compromise. I have no respect for Ryan, Boehner or Cantor, who have shown time and again that they favor the rich over the middle class, the insurance companies over the sick and uninsured, and the corporation profits over programs for infrastructure, education, the elderly and the poor. That is at odds with the teachings of any church that claims to be Christian. Their obstruction may well lead to a much bigger crisis than the last debt ceiling fiasco. Too bad it's 13 months from getting them out of office so people with compassion and true dedication to their country can take over.

      October 28, 2011 at 2:03 am |
    • Jack

      bs you can't have 2 Gods...Christ's quote says it all; a rich man getting into the kingdom of heaven is like a camel getting through the eye of a needle. If you're a Christian this is gospel and proves real Christianity isn't always fun or easy. It's more simple than dying on a cross so in that respect...

      October 28, 2011 at 3:48 am |
  10. G-D

    For peanuts one nowadays works for,
    The riches from wealth never evens a score.
    Padded by wealth from parents' surmount,
    Children though cannot even count!
    Held then in Trusts that will one day run down,
    Children's riches now lost they wear a big frown.

    GOD, HE will always be in all the right places,
    Never too late the chalk line HE traces.
    HE knows well the pains and the ills,
    GOD knows truly everyone's wills.
    Try as one does is never enough,
    GOD scares the ones who thought themselves tough.

    Love beckons the wanton few who silently see,
    As GOD scatters all who unrightfully flee.
    Stand to and hold onto the strength from within,
    Give it your all and someday you'll win.
    For as the storm gathers in strength that abounds,
    Listen intently and ever for the beckoning sounds.

    Love GOD and be in fear of HIS wrath,
    Be ever set upon the very narrow of path.
    Love others you cannot hope to try and just help out,
    Yell out to the rich and yes cry and do shout!
    Who are the owners of wealth that sit on their richness,
    GOD loves the lost in Life and knows who made the whole mess,

    October 27, 2011 at 8:24 pm |
  11. If I had a penny for every stupid Republican I'd be rich!

    The Archbishop is probably busy with little boys.

    October 27, 2011 at 7:23 pm |
  12. If I had a penny for every stupid Republican I'd be rich!

    He gave up fear for Lent. That pretty much says it all. It is supposed to be an act of sacrifice and he gives up fear? Is that something he covets, probably he wants all the voters to be fearful so they can be manipulated into believing the GOP BS.

    October 27, 2011 at 7:17 pm |
  13. sean burns

    I see that he gets his hair done by the same stylist that does Barbie's boyfriend Ken.

    October 27, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  14. IDEAS and IDEALS not ideologies

    Brilliant! Bravo! Even the very young one has mastered the art talking without really saying anything

    October 27, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
    • Numyorangay

      Great! Love this. My thoughts exactly.

      October 28, 2011 at 4:43 am |
  15. true GOD

    if i cared i would help, but i don't. I created all of you not in the image of me but the image of my @ss. Hence why most of you talk nothing but sh!t. One more thing, Satan is a very cool dude, he doesn't mean well, but he is my lover and as even with gods (yes, Satan is a god) opposites attract!

    October 27, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
    • true GOD

      Have fun, you only have a set amount of time left to enjoy yourselves. HE HE but i won't tell you how much time you have, why, because i am an all knowing all powerful GOD, and if you knew then i am not the only one who knows......thats how i like it!

      October 27, 2011 at 4:16 pm |
  16. zazu

    It is very difficult to choose between Greed and Jesus for Republicans. My only confusion has always been how Evangelcals can pledge allegiance to both the GOP and Jesus. The Pharisees would have loved them but Jesus and Paul? Remember it was Paul who said that the Love of money (Greed) is the ROOT OF ALL EVIL. When was the last time you heard Conservatives fight for the culture wars involving Greed? Never! Highly selective isn't it? Just like their prolife credentials. It doesn't matter that hundreds of thousands of Iraqi's die (is an Iraqi life as valuable as one of ours?), the uninsured? those who miscarry because of polluted and unclean air for which reason they oppose the EPA. Just sincere right?

    October 27, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
  17. G-D

    "I believe that the social Magisterium – again, I am saying this as a Catholic – is very helpful and it does not pick which of the two philosophies between the left and the right are right or wrong. That is up to the prudential judgment of lay people who are practicing, practice as politicians."

    Magisterium sound like a cross between magic and pabulum,,, while practicing and practice seem aloof with the craft of witches and warlocks,,,,who knew? 🙁

    October 27, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
  18. Stewart

    Your job is to do what the people elected you to do. The pope, last i checked was not an American. So with that in mind, just do your damn job that you were elected, and save your religion for Sunday

    October 27, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
  19. G-D

    Give them your poor and huddled masses,
    Keep though those who can work.
    Send them those who need of glasses,
    Send to them all that act as a jerk!
    Once they are filled with huddling amassings,
    Listen then for when the bell rings!

    The tolls of disparagement's waylaying arm,
    hides the debaucheries heard in the songs.
    Seek not the whistling of charm,
    Give to the masses that huddle in throngs.
    GOD will avenge ever the leery of pride.
    Ride the black swan, never do hide!

    Rejoice therefore in the meadows of play,
    Sing of good songs the happier times.
    Remeber to sometimes bow and do pray,
    Keep always the knowledge of was once for dimes.
    GOD is the victor of many poor souls,
    HE waits patiently for when the bell tolls.

    October 27, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
    • Answer

      I like seeing xtians crack under pressure. You are a splendid case Richard 🙂
      How I would love to make a film about your conversion to insanity. The zealots always jump from one phase to another always ending up as a living prophet from their own words. You're a classic piece of work. Bravo.

      October 27, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
    • G-D

      What shoud one do, answer the questions or question the answers? The choices we have,,, Oh the choices,,, 😐

      October 27, 2011 at 7:57 pm |
  20. Publius Novus

    If the Archbishop of Milwaukee were doing his job, he would deny communion to Ryan.

    October 27, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.