“We are focused on some of the Catholic lawmakers who are acting more in line with the tea party than they are with the teachings of Jesus Christ,” said James Salt, executive director of Catholics United.
Ryan acknowledged during the Georgetown appearance that “there can be differences among faithful Catholics on this.” The lawmaker, who has been mentioned as a possible Republican vice presidential nominee, earned a public rebuttal from the bishops conference after he said on Fox News last week that those voicing concerns “are not all the Catholic bishops.”
Since then, Ryan has labored to mend fences, penning an article this week in the National Catholic Register that spells out his argument that the national debt is the nation’s leading social problem and that the answer lies not with the federal bureaucracies but with families, communities, and state and local leaders.
It’s a message that some Catholics will embrace and others will reject, Green said.
“Many of those centrist Catholics would probably agree with Catholic intellectuals and with bishops that there are a lot of things wrong with Paul Ryan’s budget from a Catholic perspective,” he said. On the other hand, he added, those same Catholics would tend to side with the GOP on issues such as abortion and contraception.
As Ryan has learned, that presents challenges for both Democrats and Republicans.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.