Boehner avoids mention of criticism surrounding appearance at Catholic University
May 14th, 2011
05:17 PM ET
7 years ago

Boehner avoids mention of criticism surrounding appearance at Catholic University

Washington (CNN) - House Speaker John Boehner emphasized "humility, patience and faith" in his commencement speech Saturday at the Catholic University of America, steering clear of addressing concerns raised by dozens at the college over his role in passing the 2012 budget.

Boehner, a Catholic and a Republican, made no mention of a letter that was sent to him this week by a group of 70 people from Catholic University as well as other Catholic colleges across the country, criticizing the 2012 budget that Boehner helped guide through the House. The signatories included faculty, priests and nuns, among others.

The legislation called for spending cuts that could adversely affect a number of programs that help the poor and elderly.

The letter said Boehner's actions go against the Catholic doctrine.

"It is your moral duty as a legislator to put the needs of the poor and most vulnerable foremost in your considerations," the letter stated.

Stephen Schneck, a professor at Catholic University, was one of the dozens who signed the letter.

"Catholic social teachings have always emphasized the importance of preferencing the poor in regards to governance and policy-making. And if you look over the speaker's record, it doesn't seem as if he's been fulfilling that part of the deal," Schneck told CNN.

A day after receiving the letter, Boehner did not directly comment on the proposed cuts listed in the budget, but he did express his satisfaction with the system that's currently in place.

"I think America has a strong safety net for those who live near the bottom of our economy," he said.

But it's that safety net that Schneck and his colleagues say Boehner is targeting.

"In the 2012 budget there are a number of items that just seem to be quite frankly at odds with Catholic social teachings in this regard - the cuts that he makes to WIC [women, infants and children] programs, the 20% cuts in food stamps, cuts to maternal and infant grants. ... What happens to Medicare and Medicaid?" Schneck said.

A number of Christian groups have since formed what they call a "Circle of Protection" in the hopes of doing just that - protecting groups that are in danger of being heavily impacted by cuts to various food and nutrition programs as well as to Medicare and Medicaid. Schneck issued an invitation to Boehner to join them.

Boehner said Thursday that he feels like there are people in every religion who lean more liberal or conservative, but he said he feels good about his track record.

"I believe that the actions that I've taken during my years in Congress uphold the values of my faith," he said.

In his commencement address Saturday, Boehner emphasized doing the right thing for the right reasons: "... humility, patience and faith - the raw material of hard work and sacrifice. They will take you as far as you want to go."

CNN's Eric Marrapodi contributed to this report.

Filed under: Belief Blog • Budget • John Boehner
soundoff (43 Responses)
  1. Nathan

    It is siimply amazing that people like Boehner and exteme rightwingers who claim to be Christian, and question the President's faith are the first and the quickest to take from the poor and lowest in the social ladder just to insure their wealth peers get even richer. Anyone calling themselve a christian and supporting what the Repuclican across this nation is attempting to do with cuts to the most vunerable should really rethink calling themselves "Christian". I do not profess to be a christian scholar, but I'm certain Christ would not be doing what Boehner and pals are doing.

    May 14, 2011 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  2. Proud member of "Global Zero"

    The speaker needs to go back to college and take econ 101. He also needs to search his soul to see if he even has one.

    May 14, 2011 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  3. Nandulal

    "I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” Mohandas "Mahatma" Gandhi.

    May 14, 2011 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  4. Republican Robber Baron

    Great job Catholic Church for calling-out John Boehner for his terrible agenda. Not only is Boehner and friends devastating the poor...but his cronies radical agenda of busting unions and making the rich pay less and less taxes is starting to devastate the middle-class as well. Shame on John Boehner and the Republican establishment for their cruel and vicious agenda against the working class.

    May 14, 2011 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  5. Sgt Schultz

    Indeed it has been said for centuries that greed and selfishness are among the worst of all sins. Despite what Adam Smith said.

    May 14, 2011 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  6. johnRJ08

    This clown doesn't worship any religion. He worships golf.

    May 14, 2011 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  7. Henry

    I cannot believe that a Catholic can act the way that Boehner does. He is no different from these make believe Christians, the ones that pretend to follow Jesus. He and the evangelicals truly do not follow the teachings of Jesus – unless these teachings benefit them.

    Boehner is not what the Catholic church stands for – Or does it?

    May 14, 2011 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  8. Doyle Wiley, MI

    The amazing thing is that the Catholic University of America had him as there commencement speecher.

    May 14, 2011 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  9. lynn

    Catholic in name only. He has no interest in helping the poor and elderly, only in making a name for himself and the GOP.

    May 14, 2011 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  10. Wise1Speak

    WHY THE SURPRISE? Doesn't everyone know that Republican John Boehner is a hypocrite? This is the same hypocrite that:

    (1.) – held middle-class tax-cuts hostage so he could provide millionaires and billionaires bigger tax-cuts while raising the national debt by another $700-Billion.

    (2.) – he claimed to be a "compassionate conservative" (an oxymoron), yet passing a Tea Party bill in Congress that increases senior's Medicare cost by $6,000.00 per person, while simultaneously providing tax-cuts for $Billionaires and increasing the national debt.

    (3.) – he fought hard for Wall Street and Banking deregulations that helped caused the U.S. 2008-2009 financial disaster; but he stood back and did nothing but complained and obstruct Democratic efforts to provide economic stimulus to save the nation from catastrophe.

    May 14, 2011 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  11. Kara

    I see Catholics who actually read their Bible have had enough of their faith being misappropriated by Boehner and his crowd.
    Good on you.

    May 14, 2011 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  12. Kenny

    Boehner emphasized doing the right thing for the right reasons in his lying speech. He said: "... humility, patience and faith – the raw material of hard work and sacrifice. They will take you as far as you want to go." If this is true, I pray they will take him back to Ohio and deposit him there on a golf course for good.

    May 14, 2011 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  13. thomas

    Humility is Virtue , a learned virtue !

    May 14, 2011 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  14. sonny c.

    Boehner & the Repubs. wouldn't know Jesus Christ if they ran over him in one of BMWs. If they bothered to read the Four Gospels of Jesus, located in the New Testament section of the Bible, they'd discover that their political mantra is the polar opposite of the words & actions of J.C. Heck, they'd call Jesus out of "Mainstream America"; and they'd be right, he was "not of this world". But you can't claim to be a follower of Jesus if your main Political Message is, NO TAXES on the above $250,000 people. Capitalism is NOT Christianity.

    May 14, 2011 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  15. ED FL

    AS a lifelong Catholic it isn't any wonder that Boehner went to make a speech at a Catholic school. Catholics have a greater tolerance about Boozing and Crying when caught up in a tough situation, He probably is looking for more Catholic events to attend.

    May 14, 2011 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  16. Thankfully Independent

    Sounds to me like Boehner places his secular Republican values above his religious Catholic values. When one of the Kennedys put his Democratic views before his Catholic values, his pastor asked him not to particpate in Holy Communion. Wonder if that's going to happen to John?

    May 14, 2011 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  17. DALE

    Review of the Republican platform is proof positive thqat you can not bea Christian and a Republican. None of this matter howerver for Republican politician only use Christian to achieve power they have no care about true Christianity.

    May 14, 2011 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  18. Dirk Wladon

    There's nothing here folks, just keep on walking.

    May 14, 2011 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  19. annie s

    Sorry, Speaker Boehner, but Jesus surely would not have taken from the poor and elderly to give to the rich, as you and your fellow Republicans would do.

    May 14, 2011 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  20. A disgusted former Republican

    Boehners treatment of the helpless will pave his way to Hell! If anyone deserves to go there, Boner is at the top of the list!

    May 14, 2011 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  21. T'sah from Virginia

    In the name of the Pubs – The Rich – and the Holy Tax Breaks, AMEN!!! Boehner is a Catholic outside of Washington but inside – a SELL OUT!! The Evangelicals and the more holier than THOUs could care less!!!

    May 14, 2011 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  22. michaelam

    ....the actions that I've taken during my years in Congress uphold the values of my faith,"

    Wrong Boehner, your actions in Congress directly defy the teachings of your faith. The basis of Catholicism is social justice, which, YOU, Boehner do not profess. As a recovering Catholic, I do not defend the Catholic Church very often. However, in this case, they get my "blessing." Now, if you only the Church would condemn you like they did Galileo, I would defend the Church more often. At least Galileo offered something positive to this world. Orange Man? Not so much!

    May 14, 2011 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  23. whitmanguy

    Catholic University faculty have done the nation a service by raising their concerns about Boehner's support for a heartless (= unChristian) Republican budget plan. His true religion has nothing to do with "humility, patience and faith." It is all to do with greed and power.

    May 14, 2011 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  24. Randy, San Francisco

    Helping the less fortunate is not a "leaning more conservative or liberal" thing to do. Helping the poor is the moral and right thing to do. Americans are the most caring and generous people in the world, regardless of politics, religion, or social standing.

    May 14, 2011 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  25. Clwyd

    Boner Boehner and the radical racist right wing republican who only are looking out for tax brakes for oil, big business, big Wall Street and the rich are just part of the new party called "Hypocrite Republicans!!" Thanks for speaking up Catholic Scholars and students!

    May 14, 2011 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
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