As a descendant of Irish peasants and a graduate of a Catholic high school, I personally know that “Catholic guilt” can be a cruel and unyielding master. Little did I know that that same Catholic guilt is used to decide some of the most important decisions in the United States government.

On Sunday, former House Speaker and public crier John Boehner said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that he used “Catholic guilt” to persuade fellow Catholic Paul Ryan to run for speaker after he stepped down. Boehner told Ryan:

“This isn’t about what you want to do. It’s about what God wants you to do. And God has told me, he wants you to.”

The Speaker of the House is, it’s worth noting, second in the United States presidential line of succession after the Vice President. It’s always nice to know how the sausage is made, and in this case, it’s made out of religious shame.