Ryan gained national attention last spring amid debate over his proposed budget, which included significant spending cuts in an attempt to move towards balancing the federal budget.
Bishop Stephen E. Blaire of Stockton, Calif., who heads the U.S. bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, wrote letters to Congress raising concerns that the proposed cuts in programs for the poor were "unjust" and would harm the most vulnerable.
Since then, Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila of Denver and Ryan's local prelate, Bishop Robert C. Morlino of Madison, Wis., have all spoken up to defend Ryan's reputation as a Catholic layman who takes his faith seriously, adding that there is room for debate among the faithful about how to solve these types of economic issues.
Ryan has responded to criticism of his budget by arguing that the poor are harmed most by the extreme federal debt. He contends that "big government" approaches to poverty have not worked and says that his ideas will help boost the economy and reduce poverty.
Ryan also commented on Romney's Mormon faith, which has drawn some attention throughout the election.
He said that while the two candidates attend different churches, the "best kind of preaching" in any church "is done by example."
"And I've been watching that example," he said. "The man who will accept your nomination tomorrow is prayerful and faithful and honorable. Not only a defender of marriage, he offers an example of marriage at its best."
Ryan stressed that despite their differences in faith, he and Romney share an understanding of the "great moral ideas" that are "essential to democratic government," as well as the conviction that "our rights come from nature and God, not from government."
Michelle La Rosa is deputy editor-in-chief of Catholic News Agency. She has worked for CNA since 2011. She studied political philosophy and journalism at the University of Dallas.