Catholic protesters greet Rep. Paul Ryan

Published: April 26, 2012 at 3:32 PM

WASHINGTON, April 26 (UPI) -- Catholic protesters greeted U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., when he delivered a lecture Thursday at Georgetown University in Washington.

Members of Catholics United held up a banner that read "Were you there when they crucified the poor?" -- a takeoff on the spiritual "Were you there when they crucified my Lord?" -- and two protesters describing themselves as GOP Jesus read the "Me-attitudes" instead of the Beatitudes, the National Catholic Reporter said.

Ryan delivered the Whittington Lecture at the Jesuit university's Public Policy Institute a few days after 90 members of the faculty wrote an open letter criticizing his proposed federal budget. They accused him of "continuing misuse of Catholic teaching to defend a budget plan that decimates food programs for struggling families, radically weakens protections for the elderly and sick, and gives more tax breaks to the wealthiest few."

Speaking before a small audience, Ryan defended his plan, saying it is in line with Catholic beliefs.

"The overarching threat to our whole society today is the exploding federal debt," he said. "The Holy Father, Pope Benedict, has charged that governments, communities and individuals running up high debt levels are 'living at the expense of future generations' and 'living in untruth.'"

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