WASHINGTON – More than 80 Catholic professors decreed in a letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) that his policies are “anti-life” and out of line with the teachings of the Church because they harm the “poor and vulnerable.”
“Mr. Speaker, your voting record is at variance from one of the Church’s most ancient moral teachings,” the academics wrote. “From the apostles to the present, the Magisterium of the Church has insisted that those in power are morally obliged to preference the needs of the poor. Your record in support of legislation to address the desperate needs of the poor is among the worst in Congress. This fundamental concern should have great urgency for Catholic policy makers. Yet, even now, you work in opposition to it.”
The letter goes on to chide the most powerful Republican in the country for supporting budget measures that cut important programs for the poor and needy, as well as pregnant women and children. It pointedly cites his support for the House-passed GOP budget that cuts Medicare, Medicaid and food stamps.
“The 2012 budget you shepherded to passage in the House of Representatives guts long-established protections for the most vulnerable members of society. It is particularly cruel to pregnant women and children, gutting Maternal and Child Health grants and slashing $500 million from the highly successful Women Infants and Children nutrition program.”
The letter was written in advance of a commencement speech that Boehner, who grew up in a Roman Catholic family, is poised to give this Saturday at the Catholic University of America. The professors wrote that the GOP budget “invokes the deficit to justify visiting such hardship upon the vulnerable, while it carves out $3 trillion in new tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy.” They called out “the anti-life implications of this budget in regard to its impact on poor and vulnerable American citizens.”
Boehner’s spokesman Michael Steel didn’t sound fazed in a response to the New York Times.
“The speaker will be delivering a personal, nonpolitical message at the Catholic University of America that he hopes will speak to all members of the graduating class, regardless of their backgrounds or affiliations,” Steel said. “He is deeply honored to have been invited by C.U.A. to address the school’s graduating class, and is looking forward to receiving an honorary degree from the only Catholic college in our country that is chartered by Catholic bishops.”
The letter was signed by 83 professors at Catholic universities at time of publication.