Venues in which a person's fidelity to Catholic teaching is generally viewed as a negative are suddenly voicing concern about Paul Ryan's adherence to Catholic social teaching. It's not, of course, that Daily Kos or the Daily Beast have suddenly embraced Catholicism. It's that they're worried that Ryan might help Romney win Catholic votes and the election, thus depriving Barack Obama of the second term that most major media outlets are working assiduously to give him.
Today, Ryan acquired a significant ally in fending off such attacks, Robert Morlino, the bishop of Ryan's home diocese of Madison, Wisconsin. In a powerful column published on the website of the diocesan newspaper, Bishop Morlino writes, "Vice Presidential Candidate Ryan is aware of Catholic Social Teaching and is very careful to fashion and form his conclusions in accord with the principles mentioned above." Morlino adds that he "mention[s] this matter in obedience to Church Law regarding one's right to a good reputation." In other words, the leftist media outlets charging Ryan with being a bad Catholic are engaged in slander.
Morlino also reminds us why those outlets normally applaud Catholics who dissent from Catholic teaching. Morlino notes that Catholics can never approve intrinsic evil, and writes that "abortion, euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide, same-sex marriage, government-coerced secularism, and socialism" all qualify. Morlino's list more or less summarizes President Obama's platform and the editorial line of most major media outlets in this country. Which is why Catholics trying to decide how to cast their ballot should take media attacks on Ryan, including on Ryan's Catholicism, with a very large grain of salt.
Thomas Piatak is a contributing editor to Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture. He writes from Cleveland, Ohio.