I’ve always had the impression Paul Ryan has tried to be an honest Catholic — to do what he does for the right reasons, let his faith inform his politics rather than manipulate his faith for politics. I thought that was reflected in this little exchange earlier today when a reporter asked him about the Vatican’s plan for a synod with heads of the bishops’ conferences around the world in February (this is a rough transcript):
First, we need to think about the victims. And we need to make sure that the victims get the help they need. Second, as a practicing Catholic, the last thing that this needs to be is relegated to a fight between the Catholic left and the Catholic right. This needs to be elevated to the truth and justice. That means cleanse the problem with total transparency and total accountability so that the healing can begin and so that the Church can renew itself. So, it’s a very disturbing development, and I pray and hope that the Church gets this right. I think Cardinal DiNardo, who is the head of the USCCB and the Galveston-Houston Cardinal, from what I can see is on the right track and I pray for him as he goes to the Vatican, I think today. So, that to me is what should happen here.Reporter: Do you believe that these leaders are trustworthy, though?Speaker Ryan: I don’t know the facts. But the facts need to come out. That’s the point I’m trying to make.
That Catholic left vs. Catholic right business is a good caution. (Cardinal Dolan said something similar on CNN.) Ditto Team Vigano vs. Team Francis, to get a little more inside baseball than he (probably prudently) went. I don’t know if we’re capable of that but I sure pray we are. Addressing this rightly could just help us recover a healthy sense of right and wrong — and even debate about it with purity of heart and without the absolute assumption of ill will on the part of those we’re debating — without the muddying effects of ideological manipulations.