House Catholic Democrats State Their Principles

55 of the 72 Catholic Democrats in the House have signed onto a statement of principles (which the press release assures us is "historic"). They summarize Catholic social teaching thus:

We are committed to making real the basic principles that are at the heart of Catholic social teaching: helping the poor and disadvantaged, protecting the most vulnerable among us, and ensuring that all Americans of every faith are given meaningful opportunities to share in the blessings of this great country. That commitment is fulfilled in different ways by legislators but includes: reducing the rising rates of poverty; increasing access to education for all; pressing for increased access to health care; and taking seriously the decision to go to war.


We envision a world in which every child belongs to a loving family and agree with the Catholic Church about the value of human life and the undesirability of abortion—we do not celebrate its practice. Each of us is committed to reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies and creating an environment with policies that encourage pregnancies to be carried to term. We believe this includes promoting alternatives to abortion, such as adoption, and improving access to children's healthcare and child care, as well as policies that encourage paternal and maternal responsibility.

I'd be the last one to argue that there is only one "Catholic" way to approach any particular political issue, so I'm not going to fisk their positions --especially since, on the life questions, Joe Knippenberg at No Left Turns has already done that, with links to others who have as well. But I do note an essential element of Catholic social teaching that's missing from the Dem's thinking altogether: the principle of subsidiarity. Especially in light of B16's insistence upon this principle in Deus Caritas Est, you'd think any serious effort to grapple with Catholic social teaching would at least mention it. Curtsy to No Left Turns.