House Republicans are in a quandary … they want to embrace Paul Ryan’s (R-WI-01) Path To Prosperity, but Representative Ryan is hearing some resistance from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and recently at Georgetown University.
About 90 members of Georgetown’s faculty, including two dozen Jesuit priests, signed a letter telling Representative Ryan that he is “profoundly misreading Church teaching” and that his budget would have “devastating consequences” for poor Americans:
“We appreciate your willingness to talk about how Catholic social teaching can help inform effective policy in dealing with the urgent challenges facing our country, however, we would be remiss in our duty to you and our students if we did not challenge your continuing misuse of Catholic teaching to defend a budget plan that decimates food programs for struggling families, radically weakens protections for the elderly and sick, and gives more tax breaks to the wealthiest few. As the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has wisely noted in several letters to Congress – “a just framework for future budgets cannot rely on disproportionate cuts in essential services to poor persons.” Catholic bishops recently wrote that “the House-passed budget resolution fails to meet these moral criteria.”
Representative Ryan responded in his speech :
I suppose there are some Catholics who for a long time have thought they had a monopoly of sorts… not exactly on heaven, but on the social teaching of our Church. Of course there can be differences among faithful Catholics on this. The work I do as a Catholic holding office conforms to the social doctrine as best I can make of it. What I have to say about the social doctrine of the Church is from the viewpoint of a Catholic in politics applying my understanding to the problems of the day.
The problem may be that the Ryan’s Path to Prosperity Budget: A Blueprint For American Revival is based more on the teachings of Reverend Joel Osteen, the senior pastor at Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, who served as the guest chaplain in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, saying “Give them wisdom as they make good decisions, courage that they will hold fast to your truth, and compassion that all should prosper from their laws.”
Reverend Osteen preaches the Gospel of Prosperity :
“God wants to increase you financially, by giving you promotions, fresh ideas and creativity” Reverend Osteen wrote on page 5 of his bestselling book, “Your Best Life Now.”
Other interesting messages in Reverend Osteen’s book :
“The first step to living at your full potential is to enlarge your vision. To live your best life now, you must start looking at life through eyes of faith, seeing yourself rising to new levels. See your business taking off. See your marriage restored. See your family prospering. See your dreams coming to pass. You must conceive it and believe it is possible if you ever hope to experience it” (p. 4, emphasis his).
“If you develop an image of victory, success, health, abundance, joy, peace, and happiness, nothing on earth will be able to hold those things from you” (p. 5).
“You were born to win; you were born for greatness, you were created to be a champion in life” (p. 35),
“You will often receive preferential treatment simply because your Father is the King of kings, and His glory and honor spill over onto you” (p. 40).
“When you are tempted to get discouraged, remind yourself that according to God’s Word, your future is getting brighter; you are on your way to a new level of glory” (p. 67).
“God didn’t make you to be average. God created you to excel” (p. 82).
“Before we were ever formed, He programmed us to live abundant lives, to be happy, healthy, and whole. But when our thinking becomes contaminated it is no longer in line with God’s Word” (p. 114).
Reverend Osteen promises, “It’s going to happen… Suddenly, your situation will change for the better…He will bring your dreams to pass” (pp. 196-198).
Somehow, the Gospel of Prosperity seems to fit the Path To Prosperity better than the Catholic Bishops concerns … and apparently true since Representative Ryan has a link on his taxpayer-paid website to an article entitled A Bishop’s Unjust Attack on Paul Ryan
… yes, the House would rather hear from Reverend Osteen than from Bishop Stephen Blaire, chairman of the bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development … after all, what’s easier to hear “you are on your way to a new level of glory” … or that Representative Ryan and his colleagues are misappropriated the Catholic teaching as a “rationale for gutting government programs.”