Moral outrage: constructed.

One of the persistent talking points is that Republicans are heartless thugs out to abandon the poor and the disadvantaged. Speaker Boehner got a dose from a group of Catholic academics for backing a budget plan that is “particularly cruel to pregnant women and children” while dramatically revising the federal health programs of Medicare and Medicaid.

Rick at Wizbang takes note that CUA alumni Fr. Robert A. Sirico gives a substantive rebuttal.

What Fr. Sirico notes is that there is a distinction to be made between the edicts of the Magisterium of the Church and the actual means of implementation. There is a place for debate about the best way to implement a moral obligation to assist those less fortunate. That is where the talking points about Republican thugs fails.

It appears then that these Catholic academicians who have written to Speaker Boehner do not understand the distinctions the Church herself makes between fundamental, non-negotiable dogmas and doctrines, and the prudential and debatable give and take when it comes to applying the principles of Catholic social teaching.

This underscores a behavior pattern in the debate. The moral outrage moves the debate from understanding opinions to one of judgment about the moral qualities and other personal characteristics of those who do not agree. That is not a path towards learning, towards finding practical solutions, nor towards intellectual integrity.

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