About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Scot B


    You said…
    “Ryan’s plan for Medicare will lower the government’s cost by putting the burden of health insurance increases onto the recipients.”
    …right after I wrote a lengthy paragraph explaining how his program guarantees to cover the insurance increases. Older versions of Ryan’s plan did not guarantee this, so perhaps you just haven’t updated your knowledge of the program. But if you wish to influence the debate, you must work with the actual proposals on offer.

    The fact that Ryan changed his plan for this year (he also added traditional Medicare as an option if you want it) is important. It reflects the fact that Ryan has been gathering input from people who don’t agree with him and trying to compromise on his plan to make it a political possibility instead of just posturing. He dropped SS reform from his 2008 plan for the same reason. He’s frequently said he’s willing to work with people on the details. He’s staying true to a couple of core principles, but changing on some of the details. This is a man who truly believes in the coming fiscal crisis and is dedicating his career to averting it. He is taking the first brave step to breaking the dysfunctional political culture in Washington. The Democrats should be breathing a sigh of relief that a Republican is giving them cover for proposing their own real solutions to the problem (because let’s face it, and real solution is going to involve some pain). But do they respond in kind? No, they create ads showing Paul Ryan pushing a grandmother off a cliff. Literally.

    It’s up to people like you Will to force the Democrats to proudly step forward with a real solution that embodies their political ideas. Then we can move forward in this country, one way or another.

    [And yes, I believe in such a fair debate the ideas of a Ryan will win out over the ideas of the Democrats. But if you think I'm so wrong, then aren't you frustrated in the scandalous silence of the Democrats?]

  • Don

    We need to have a serious discussion about what it means to be “poor” in America. A recent report showed that the bottom 5% in America are better off than 70% of the people in the entire world. It also showed that the average “poor” family in the United States is likely to have more living space than the average European (non-poor) family, is likely to have cell phones, a flat screen TV, a video game system, adequate transportation, be overweight, and never to have missed a meal. Meanwhile, fully 2 billion of the 7 billion people on the planet have no running water or sewer. There are certainly some very impovershed people in the United States, but many of the defined “poor” would have been considered so by the standards of Jesus’ time? While I am not in favor of yanking the safety net from under the not-insubstantial number of truly “poor” people in America, I think we need a little perspective on how we have defined poverty in this country. I also become incredibly frustrated at the unwillingness of some people to recognize the unsustainabilty of the path we are traveling with respect to massive borrowing to support entitlement programs. It is absolutely immoral to saddle future generations with that burden, and when the system crashes, those who are currently “definitinally” poor will be hurt first and worst.

  • Sandy Daze

    Dear Elizabeth Scalia,

    We´re known by the company we keep, and perhaps in a similar manner, by the comedy we might enjoy. For myself, Stephen Colbert is a sanctimonous twit who parades his conviction as enlightened truth. There are many examples of his less-than-humorous shtick, but perhaps one close to this web home would be his 2011 Lent stunt of giving up Catholicism. Stephen Colbert´s humor is not to my taste, but you say you like him. Okay. Whatever.

    I would not have bothered with his interview with Father Reese, had it not been linked from this, your site. Hmmmm, Father Reese, perhaps he too might be known by the company he keeps. If Father Reese is happy-clappy with Mr Colbert, I am immediately suspicious. But, I have respect for your lucid & spiritual writings on our Catholic faith; perhaps I need to pay some attention. Who is Father Reese? A quick websearch suggests that Father Reese is a bit of a media maven.

    One website says:

    Father Reese has an M.Div (Master of Divinity) from the Jesuit School of Theology, Berkeley (1974), and a Ph.D. in political science from the University of California, Berkeley (1976). From 1998 to 2005, he was editor of America, the national Catholic weekly magazine, where he encouraged discussion and debate on issues facing the Catholic church and the world.


    Wikipedia, perhaps not the most authoritive source, says:

    Fr. Reese resigned after seven years as the editor of America due to pressure from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Over a period of five years, the congregation objected to various editorial decisions made by Reese concerning certain issues addressed in the magazine, notably priestly celibacy and the ordination of women.

    Following his resignation, Reese spent a year-long sabbatical at Santa Clara University before being named a fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center in Washington, D.C.

    Oh, oh.

    The image of Father Reese seems to me to be that of a rather liberal priest. In a Nov ´10 WaPo article, he draws a clear distinction between his views and those of Archbishop Dolan and the USCCB, discussing the rightward tilt of the Bishops.

    Oh, oh, oh.

    I get the picture.


    Of Rep Ryan you comment that you are not a Ryan ¨fan.¨ I´ll be honest, I like Ryan´s forthrightedness. He´s got an idea–several–and he puts them out for consideration and discussion. There is a certain courage to do so, particularly at a nominally Catholic instutution such as Georgetown. Ah Georgetown, an institution better known for flouting its Catholic faith then embracing it (e.g. Sandra Fluke, Vagina Monologues, LBGTQ groups promotion, covering religious symbols for BHO visit, etc). Yep, Georgetown.

    Are there any elected Representatives of whom you are a ¨fan?¨

    I like to recommend the discussion at Word on Fire: Paul Ryan and Catholic Social Teaching. It is a good bookend to the discussion here.

    Thank you for all you do.

    God Bless and
    Take good care,
    Sandy Daze

    ["Are there any elected Representatives of whom you are a ¨fan?¨"

    Maybe Christie. Maybe. -admin]

  • Tyler

    I think what this hit on was a major difference between the two prominent points of view on the subject, and I’m speaking in sweeping generalities here. One group sees people with money as the good guys (because they work hard and create jobs) and see those without money as the bad guys (because they are lazy and take handouts that drain the economy) while the other view is that those with money are the bad guys (they are greedy and self serving) and the those with out as the good guys (they are disenfranchised and bullied). Two notes about this. First the polarity of these points of view makes it really difficult for any compromise. Secondly, I believe two people who are equally smart and virtuous can hold the opposite view points. It is just that one believes that those with money are the “good guys” and will give it away in charity while the other who believes those with money are the “bad guys” won’t trust those with money to freely give it away thus they call on an outside force to require those with money to give it away for the sake of the poor.

  • Mamie

    You definitely hit the nail on the head. Jesus asked his followers to love; he did not ask the Temple or the Roman governor for social programs. I wish someone would speak to the notion that most “social justice” advocates are indirectly telling me that because I am not classified as poor, I don’t matter. That I am inherently unjust, bad and not worthy of that same love that must be shown to the poor. I don’t really mind being the Prodigal Son’s big sister (I don’t expect to be thanked for doing what is right), but I do resent the attitude of those who act as though I don’t have the right to exist.

  • richard40

    This stuff about Jesus wanting us to support gov handouts is the worste lie of all.
    If Jesus was a leftist he would have called for a march to demand a welfare program from Rome. He did not. He demanded everyone do their charity personally, with their own money, with personal contact between giver and recipient. Fobbing off the job by taxing others to do your job would have been considered evil by Him. This is the biggest single lie of the left, that Christian charity can come from gov. In Jesus day only oppression came from gov, charity came from each individual.

  • Oregon Catholic

    richard40, I don’t necessarily disagree with your conclusions only how you arrive at them. I think it is safe to say that if Jesus had been born in present day America he might have had other lessons to teach us about government. We’re not exactly a Roman occupier after all.

  • SouthofReality

    Tyler wrote: One group sees people with money as the good guys (because they work hard and create jobs) and see those without money as the bad guys (because they are lazy and take handouts that drain the economy) while the other view is that those with money are the bad guys (they are greedy and self serving) and the those with out as the good guys (they are disenfranchised and bullied).

    I’ll take Option #3: I don’t see either one has good guys or bad guys. Since when is money tied to moral status?

    Really, as simplistic observations goes, yours was rather … simplistic.

  • SouthofReality

    richard40 wrote:
    “This stuff about Jesus wanting us to support gov handouts is the worste lie of all.
    If Jesus was a leftist he would have called for a march to demand a welfare program from Rome. He did not. He demanded everyone do their charity personally, with their own money, with personal contact between giver and recipient.”

    I’m always a bit leery about those types of arguments. Afterall, there’s nothing in the bible about Jesus wearing a Cheese-head, but we in Wisconsin know that his Dad is a Packer fan.

    I do however agree with the sentiment that it isn’t charity if it’s with someone else’s money and there’s precious little moral virtue in voting for the guys you think are going to conviscate someone else’s property to give it to the “right” people.

  • Scot B

    Don says…
    “We need to have a serious discussion about what it means to be “poor” in America…”

    You’re right Don. But while our welfare state has addressed the material needs of the poor, it’s an impotent tool for addressing spiritual needs, which the poor have just like everybody else. Nobody dies of hunger in this country, and yet the majority of children born into the lower socio-economic groups in this country don’t live with their father and don’t attend religious services on a regular basis. You can’t solve this problem with a welfare check…if anything you exacerbate it.

    People like Charles Murray document the problem clearly. And people like Walter Russel Mead speak eloquently about the need to move to an approach to the poor that’s individual…one human reaching out in love to another.

    We’ve tried throwing truckloads of money at government anti-poverty programs. In one sense, they work…poor people don’t starve, and don’t freeze to death (unless they’re mentally troubled homeless…but that’s a separate issue) in this country anymore. But in another sense those programs have reached the limit of their effectiveness and engender inter-generational poverty (relatively defined) and dependency. The problem of poverty today in America is not one of absolute material despondency…and that’s good. The problem of poverty in America is one of a lack of “social capital”, due largely I think to the breakdown of the family and active religious life among the poor. Fixing that is something that has to happen at a personal level.

    Of course a booming economy that results from a growth oriented set of policies won’t hurt either.

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  • Max

    Which is why budget cuts need to follow common sense priorities. It is wrong to cut food stamps for children while maintaining 900+ military bases in 120 countries. Ron Paul realizes this, and that is why he maintains the best way to balance the budget is to cut foreign spending and subsidies to big business before you touch anything else. Who can honestly oppose those two goals when we are in severe debt? I strongly urge people to study his “Plan to Restore America” available on his campaign website.

  • Jasper

    [Lies and slander. I have never suggested voting for Hillary Clinton, I never would. The post you reference was nothing more than playing with political theory and you well know it, or you should. Slander me again and you're out of here for good. I am not feeling tolerant of nastiness and hate today. -admin]

  • Dynan

    Ryan is right on, Jesus forgave sins BEFORE he healed physicality. Recall that in addition to the 7 Deadly Sins of commission, are the failing to performing the 7 Cardinal Virtues. Ryan, not Colbert, gives humans Faith, Hope, Justice, Fortitude, Prudence, Charity and Temperance.

    Check out Father Barron @ Word on Fire. Jesuit priests are usually socialistic liberals, in my experience. They have created many Cafeteria Catholics with their bullshit about free will. Our ONLY goal in this world is to find what God’s will is for me, and the power to carry IT out! I can not fix anybody else, only God can do that.

    Note in Jerimiah 31 that the New covenant is written in our hearts. A la the “Little Red Hen”

    Fix their hearts AND then their bodies. Ryan is right on! If you fix their heart first, they might get a job and fix their own bodies!!

  • Dynan

    Both Colbert and his “Priest” are both Protestants in the Luther and Calvin category.

    Just ignore them!

  • Fr. Savio

    I think one of the important concepts that many people are missing here and which is needed to think rationally about this topic is the distinction between justice and charity. They are not the same, their measures are not the same, their goals are not the same and those responsible for them are not the same.

    It seems to be the clear Catholic teaching and that of her more Scholastically trained theologians that justice is the provenance of goverment, and charity is that of the individual or the Church. When we start asking the Church to do justice, as has unfortunately happened in the past, we get Roman soldiers to invade northern Africa to squelch the Donatist rebellion. (Though the Donatists were terrorists too, so there is something there.) When we ask the State to do charity, we get endless layers of bueracracy, wastefullness of money, immorality described as people’s rights, etc. It just doesn’t work either way.

    In short, I am for social programs. However, I think that these should be ordinarily the work of private associations, not the government. Let the government worry about justice, not charity. Because if the State takes over charity, soon we will have neither justice nor charity in our nation. We will have ideological totalitarianism.

  • A Crawford

    Fr. Savio, I’m with you. Very penetrating comment. I know about charity. We generally cannot count our charities off our income taxes because it’s giving of ourselves, giving away books to the spiritually hungry, etc. What we’re doing when we fill out out income tax form isn’t charity, and having to do it doesn’t inspire charity.

  • Telemachus

    Stephen Colbert supported Obama’s election. I was watching his show with from friends the night of the election, and he started crying when the election results came in… and they were tears of joy. I haven’t watched his show since. He’s just one more (albeit more clever) counterfeit “Catholic” in the entertainment industry who thinks his personal opinions represent Church teaching.

    And Fr. Reese? Isn’t this the same Jesuit (God help that order) who said that Pope Benedict XVI was to the left of Hillary Clinton on national television when that ridiculous document from the PCJP came out last year? He’s a talking-head that the MSM goes to when they need a priest who will say what they want him to say when some issue related to the Church is being discussed.

    God bless,