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Ryan and Biden — a tale of two Catholics

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For the past two years, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has written a series of letters to House lawmakers, including Ryan, arguing that the "central moral measure" of any budget is how it affects "poor and vulnerable people."

Ryan’s 2013 budget plan, which passed in the House, but has died in the Senate, "fails to meet these moral criteria," wrote Bishop Stephen Blaire of Stockton, Calif., chairman of the bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development.

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Catholic nuns, scholars and Franciscans have been even more critical.

Nuns protested Ryan’s budget on a nine-state bus tour this summer, rallying outside his district office. The Franciscan Action Network accused the congressman of "balancing the budget on the backs of the poor." Nearly 90 scholars at Georgetown University, the nation’s oldest Catholic college, said that Ryan’s budget owes more to Ayn Rand, whom he has cited as a major influence, than to the gospel.

Ryan has vigorously defended his budget and fidelity to Catholic social teaching.

"The overarching threat to our whole society today is the exploding federal debt," Ryan said at Georgetown in April. "The Holy Father, Pope Benedict, has charged that governments, communities, and individuals running up high debt levels are ‘living at the expense of future generations’ and ‘living in untruth.’ "

Ryan has also cited the Catholic principle of "subsidiarity" to argue that government programs should not crowd out civic life, including local charities and churches.

In a Daily Beast article, Hudson suggested that Ryan has more convincing to do.

"The bottom line," he wrote, "is this: the Romney-Ryan campaign must acknowledge the Catholic concerns about the budget as a major obstacle to winning the election."

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