Boehner avoids mention of criticism surrounding appearance at Catholic University
May 14th, 2011
05:17 PM ET
12 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. Jess C

    He's becoming the king of BS, that's for sure!

    May 14, 2011 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  2. Aaron

    If the Catholics want to help the poor, why would they invite Boehner to speak? He's a paid agent of the rich and corporations. He cares nothing about the poor unless it's election time. If he's Catholic, he needs to be excommunicated, just as the Church wanted to do with any pro-abortion legislators a few years ago.

    May 14, 2011 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  3. Patrick from Minnesota

    Jesus was a liberal (and a socialist). If you doubt this, read the New Testament.

    May 14, 2011 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  4. kalimah samiullah

    John Boehner should be ashamed of himself- millions of poor people are suffering and the so called safety net is being taken away and he is the one proposing this )et he alks about humility- he is either a hypocrite or just plain dumb-doesn't seem like there's a charitable bone in his body! Ugh!

    May 14, 2011 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  5. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    It has struck me that much of the Republicans policy holds the idea that the private sector will be there to help the poor. They seem to think that charities supported by the rich will take care of that problem of the poor. Republicans also seem to believe that anyone and everyone can pull themselves up by their bootstraps which is hard considering that some don't have these boots needed to do that.

    May 14, 2011 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  6. rusty155

    This man lie right to that hole Catholic University, Because he Is only hurt the POOR and The OLD. The only People The TEA PARTY and the Republican care about Is the RICH and Big Business.

    May 14, 2011 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  7. Charlie in Maine

    The church is so intent on denying any sort of reproductive freedom that it works counter to other cherished beliefs. I get it, in your eyes abotion is a sin. So why not cause there to be fewer abortions by endorsing quality safe birth control? If it is already a sin why does it have to be illeagal as well? Let it be between a woman, her doctor, her mate if she choses. If God has a problem with it he will let her know. I think that, just like capital punishment sometimes it is a sin and sometimes it is the best solution and God will know which is which.

    May 14, 2011 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  8. ej

    They are right to criticize Boehner, as his voting record is not in line with the Catholic doctrine. So far, he's been a terribly ineffective Speaker of the House, wven by GOP standards.

    May 15, 2011 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  9. John M

    If though that hard work pays-yes in so difused ways. I as a person; I seem to gather diversity in this. My faith has and will be the foremost important aspects in all things. Take away patience? No. That it is virtually essential. We all need more needs and to care for others who give us the simplicity to survive. For the common good "much is taken to given persons..."

    May 15, 2011 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  10. Susie

    Boehner is nothing but a hypocrite

    May 15, 2011 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  11. ThinkAgain

    Boehner's god is money – he only pays lip service to his "faith" in an effort to con people into thinking he's a decent human being.


    May 15, 2011 01:37 am at 1:37 am |

    The Republicans and Bohner are too busy lining their pockets with dirty money from the lobbyists and special interests, to care about the middle class, and those less fortunate. Glad to see people of conscience calling them out. .. How about making the rich pay their fair share,.. end the Bush tax cuts for the very wealthy,..and no more subsidies for rich oil companies.

    May 15, 2011 02:24 am at 2:24 am |
  13. Marry

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

    He should tell that to his rich friends! Boehner is a ruthless, not to bright person with no shame!

    May 15, 2011 02:32 am at 2:32 am |
  14. BeverlyNC

    Boehner continues to stick his head in the sand and ignore reality. If he ever had any values he traded them for corporate handouts. Shame on him for abandoning the PEOPLE and for blackmailing the President for extremist Republican social agenda items NO ONE wants. We want the Democratic Party focus on JOBS, the ECONOMY, EDUCATION, and investments in our future. Democrats are leaders working for the PEOPLE. Republicans are racist liars working for CORPORATIONS.

    May 15, 2011 05:04 am at 5:04 am |

    The Weeper of the House's job is to protect the rich so the Catholics can forget it.

    May 15, 2011 07:28 am at 7:28 am |
  16. Marie MD

    Do they really think he has the interest of anyone "beneath" him? Get real. The only one the weeper of the house cares about are corporations (that now, thanks to the old farts on the supreme court) can give him loads of money and his rich friends.
    I guess the reason the orange/drinking/smoking man cries so much is because he knows he is going against every teaching of his church but he can't help himself. It's good to live grand!

    May 15, 2011 07:39 am at 7:39 am |
  17. Greg in Cabot, AR

    The hypocrisy is showing........conservative catholics (AKA GOP) demand smaller govt. and big cuts in taxes and spending UNTIL it impacts "their" long as catholics vote GOP because of RTL rhetoric and their "family values" candidates, get used to elected officials that "go against the Catholic doctrine"....can't have it both liberal Democrats have been pushing "Catholic doctrine" know...the "importance of preferencing the poor in regards to governance and policy-making"...

    May 15, 2011 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
  18. Clwyd

    Republicans and boner Boehner are showing that they are cruel and heartless to the American public, have been bought and paid for by the corporations and big business! At least he kept his mouth shut and didn't gloat over their anti-Americanism!

    May 15, 2011 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
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