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Panic at Think Progress as Catholic John Boehner Speaks at Catholic University

Posted on May 11 2011 8:33 pm
Lisa Graas has covered politics and religion at her blog since 2008. She has served as a crisis pregnancy counselor, youth speaker, mental health advocate and legislative consultant.

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Speaker of the House John Boehner, a Catholic, is set to give the commencement speech at Catholic University of America (CUA), and the “elite” Catholic Left could not be more upset. A “whopping” seventy Catholic professors, priests and nuns have signed a letter in protest. There are often more Catholics than that at my rural Kentucky parish’s Saturday night Mass. So why is the Soros-funded movement media at Think Progress freaking out over John Boehner speaking at CUA? The reason has nothing to do with the “Church’s Ancient Moral Teachings” and everything to do with the left’s political agenda. At stake are the pro-abortion president‘s hopes for re-election and 67 million Catholic votes. Think Progress sees political value in assisting the Catholic Left in “re-defining” (through false messaging) what Catholicism really teaches on important campaign issues like health care and the economy. Is Boehner really in opposition to Catholic teaching on service to the poor? No. But the Left certainly is.

There are actually many arguments that faithful Catholics can make in defense of the true teachings of the Catholic Faith on the issue of service to the poor, but today I will focus on just one. Subsidiarity is often given by the Catholic faithful as the Church’s main prohibition against “big government”. Today, I’d like to focus instead on one important facet of subsidiarity. That is the importance that defense of the common good be “voluntary“.

From the Catholic Catechism [emphasis mine]:

Certain societies, such as the family and the state, correspond more directly to the nature of man; they are necessary to him. To promote the participation of the greatest number in the life of a society, the creation of voluntary associations and institutions must be encouraged “on both national and international levels, which relate to economic and social goals, to cultural and recreational activities, to sport, to various professions, and to political affairs.” This “socialization” also expresses the natural tendency for human beings to associate with one another for the sake of attaining objectives that exceed individual capacities. It develops the qualities of the person, especially the sense of initiative and responsibility, and helps guarantee his rights.

It is precisely the voluntary nature  of our activity that a just social order and defense of the common good is ensured. Only activity that is “voluntary” can develop “initiative and responsibility” within peoples’ hearts that “helps guarantee” the rights we have. This includes all rights, including the right to health care, the right to economic security, etc. The more government controls health care, the markets, etc., the less voluntary is the participation of individuals in defense of the common good. Individuals in society lose their sense of “responsibility”, as well as their “initiative”. Not only do the poor and the sick become more dependent upon “government” than upon families and local communities, the families and local communities also lose their sense of “initiative” and “responsibility”. They get lazy in the area of compassion. Subsidiarity isn’t, then, just a “rule” we have to follow because we’re Catholics. It’s a rule that, if followed appropriately, will bring about a society that really does care for the poor, the sick, and others who would otherwise by marginalized.

Next: Volunteerism Versus Tyranny

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