Over at NCR, Michael Sean Winters has posted an open letter to Speaker Boehner from a number of prominent Catholic scholars (from a wide range of academic disciplines).

A brief excerpt from the letter reads:

Mr. Speaker, we urge you to use the occasion of this year’s commencement at The Catholic University of America to give fullest consideration to the teachings of your Church. We call upon you to join with your bishops and sign on to the “Circle of Protection.” It is your moral duty as a legislator to put the needs of the poor and most vulnerable foremost in your considerations. To assist you in this regard, we enclose a copy of the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church. Published by the Vatican, this is the “catechism” for the Church’s ancient and growing teaching on a just society and Catholic obligations in public life.

Catholic social doctrine is not merely a set of goals to be achieved by whatever means one chooses. It is also a way of proceeding, a set of principles that are derived from the truth of the human person. In Pope Benedict’s words: “Without truth, charity degenerates into sentimentality. Love becomes an empty shell, to be filled in an arbitrary way… the word “love” is abused and distorted, to the point where it comes to mean the opposite.”

We commend to you the Compendium’s discussion of the principles of the common good, the preferential option for the poor, and the interrelationship of subsidiarity and solidarity. Paragraph 355 on tax revenues, solidarity, and support for the vulnerable is particularly relevant to the moment.

Be assured of our prayers for you on this occasion and for your faithful living out of your vocation in public life.

The letter is already being picked up by the NY Times reporting

More than 75 professors at Catholic University and other prominent Catholic colleges have written a pointed letter to Mr. Boehner saying that the Republican-supported budget he shepherded through the House of Representatives will hurt the poor, elderly and vulnerable, and therefore he has failed to uphold basic Catholic moral teaching.

. . .

One of the professors who crafted this letter says he wanted to stake out a different approach. Stephen F. Schneck, the director of the Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies, at the Catholic University of America, noted that this letter did not call for the university to revoke the invitation to Mr. Boehner.

“We are going out of our way to say, welcome to the Catholic University,” Mr. Schneck said, “but we don’t agree with you.”

As if to say that they are not speaking out of turn, the professors point out that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops also recently issued a similar letter expressing the hierarchy’s concerns about budget cuts in programs that aid the poor.

I highly recommend reading the text of the letter on NCR and a look at the long list of Catholic scholars speaking out in a unified voice with the Bishop’s Conference on behalf of the poor and vulnerable.