The following appeared in a September 17 story on Catholic World News.

Asked by a reporter for his “take” on “this big schism between the social justice Catholics and the pro-life Catholics,” vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan distinguished “non-negotiable issues” like life and marriage from prudential judgments.

“I, as a conservative Catholic can no more claim sole justification for my political views than a liberal can for theirs,” Ryan told David Brody of CBN News. “The social Magisterium is very broad in allowing the lay [faithful] to exercise what we call prudential judgment to apply their principles to the problems of the day.”

“Now, there are key issues, intrinsic issues, life and marriage and things like this, that are really non-negotiable, and the Church is very clear on that,” Ryan continued. “But on other issues, of economics and such like that, that’s a matter of prudential judgment.”

Ryan added: Now what we believe as practicing Catholics, as conservative Catholics is that our job is to go after the root cause of poverty, to try and eradicate poverty. When we talk about ideas, principles like subsidiarity in conjunction with solidarity and preferential option for the poor what that means is we believe in civil society. We believe in individuals in their community and solidarity with one another working to create a better common good for everybody; helping people in need, protecting the voiceless like the unborn. These things are central to who we are and the notion that you can divorce these principles, these matters of faith between private life and public life that doesn’t jive with the thinking of a Catholic.

“And so sure there are differences of opinion on how to achieve an end. We believe in attacking the root cause of poverty not simply treating the symptoms so it’s more tolerable and that means having a vibrant civil society and when government gets too big and too intrusive and too dictatorial then it crowds out civil society. It makes it harder for those institutions that are the mediating institutions between the person and their government to flourish; churches, charities, civic organizations.

“When my boys go to Cub Scouts they learn values at Cub Scouts. When we put the Pinewood Derby together or the Raingutter Regatta, when my daughter gets involved in her local charities or things like this, this is what ties people together and the notion that the government is the center of our society, of our economy, in our life is just a notion that is foreign to us who are people of faith who believe in these principles.”

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