Welcome to the CHNetwork Online Community Forums Doctrine and Theology (Except Mary) The Pope, Libertarianism, and the Libertarian Catholic

7 replies, 6 voices Last updated by  Steven Barrett 5 months ago
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    kind of a weighty post for my first topic back.

    A couple of months ago, I found a news headline about Pope Francis discrediting libertarianism.

    now, I don’t want to start a political or any other debate. I can agree with our Holy See on Ayn Randian/laissze faire capitalism being bad, and social issues of euthanasia, abortion, and gay marriage being against church teaching.

    I came to Libertarian politics more out of a frustration with the two parties, ineffectual pro-life politicians and a sense of creeping government overwatch into daily lives that can affect people of faith and conviction. (I did not come to libertarianism as a libertine.)  Is  being/voting Libertarian an impediment to being a good and faithful Catholic?

    The biggest issue I see could be abortion.  Though pro-life, I see the American culture war on the issue has produced a permanent victor through law, with smaller moral victories for the pro-life side.  The major direction of the issue now could well be the public funding of abortions, for which libertarians are even more principled “against” than the conservatives.

    Am I overlooking other issues? Social doctrine -which is doctrine and not mere suggestions?  Is libertarianism a square peg I am trying to fit in the cross-shaped hole?



    David W. Emery
    @David W. Emery

    A couple of months ago, I found a news headline about Pope Francis discrediting libertarianism.

    The Pope was denouncing libertinism, a moral offense, rather than what the Libertarian Party stands for. His (or rather his translator’s) choice of words is a question of vocabulary, not of principle.

    Is being/voting Libertarian an impediment to being a good and faithful Catholic?

    All political parties in the United States include items in their platforms that are objectionable to Catholics. If a Catholic is going to participate in the political process in any meaningful way (including voting), he will have to do so in spite of such party positions. With this in mind, the Libertarian Party appears to be morally no more onerous than the others.




    His (or rather his translator’s) choice of words is a question of vocabulary, not of principle.

    I believe there have been other instances in which the translation was lost. I would have to agree with David. None of the American political parties are are the perfect party for Catholics. We need to continue for this country, and vote as we believe God is leading us.

    “For the sake of His Sorrowful Passion have mercy on us and on the whole world.”



    Great to hear, David.  As soon as I posted, I was trying to come to terms with what political party best represented Christianity, Catholicism, and Christ.  It’s just separate worlds, religion and politics.  Maybe it’s that we need conscientious Catholics spread out in most political ideologies.

    Thanks for the answers, and humoring me to talk about things we aren’t supposed to talk about when alcohol is present 🙂



    I have heard it said that the Church stands with no party but rather stands with the truth. Most parties will stand for some of the truth while abandoning other parts of it. No party is THE party as David mentioned. What passes for conservative in your country may be completely different than what passes for conservative in another country.  We have to pray and often must pick the lesser of the evils in each particular election. We are loyal to truth rather than party-line.



    Bishops and priests in the US have said that supporting abortion or same-sex “marriage”, even with a knowing/intentional vote, would be a mortal sin. Issues like this are often split down party lines in the US. Here, in the last election, the Libertarian party candidates supported both of these “rights” and often to a greater extreme than with the Democrat party.  I agree with David and Jennie that we can’t claim one party over another as supporting Church teaching – instead it is Christ and His Church that should be influencing society, and our decisions instead of politics and governments.  But we must live with the societies we are in, for better or worse.   At best, social issues are secondary to faith in God.  Christ came to save us from sin and offer us a path back to God through faith and His Church, not to establish a socially aware and just government or social system to act compassionately on our behalf.  He even warned us that we would be hated for what we believed.  The only true social justice we will ever know is God’s judgement.  Christian faith has, and always will be despised, marginalized, and persecuted in some form.

    For now, in the US at least, there are often significant differences between political parties that can be more in line with Church teaching – the first and foremost for me is which party is most likely to allow us to continue freely practicing, and living out our faith.  Without that one basic right, other political issues are somewhat irrelevant as those would be dictated by a secular, anti-Church culture.  Eventually many western nations may end up persecuting the Church to the point that (yet again), we have no rights, no vote and no voice in the socio-political arena.  But for now, the best we can do is continue to work to maintain that basic right so we have the opportunity to spread the faith without fear of arrest, or death.  Just discussing this or any other Catholic topic, on this forum may someday be deemed “hate speech” and outlawed.



    I agree with you, dedrict, on everything you said.

    I think it was Lincoln who said something about the futility of praying that God be on our side, preferring to pray that we be on God’s side.

    I’ve come to really dislike what politics has become.  Maybe it was always so. But as men continue to fail us, we do have a faith in something bigger.  And sometimes, the politicians get it right.

    (tangentially related – a couple of years ago, a Protestant pointed out to me the large number of politically appointed judges – from both parties – who were Catholic.  He said something about Catholicism having  been around long enough to develop a highly sophisticated philosophy and doctrine regarding the role of law that shaped Western culture.  It was fascinating insight.)


    Steven Barrett
    @Steven Barrett

    LOL, I’ve tried many times to write a relatively uncomplicated “explanation” as to why Catholic social and economic social teachings fail to win a lot of support for a long period of time. The answer was right in my backyard, er so to speak. Just across the Connecticut River lies Northampton, MA, hometown of Calvin Coolidge. That’s pretty much all we need to know. Not that he was anti-Catholic in a mean-spirited way. Nope. But he was very pro-capitalistic going so far to say the business of America is business. Maybe I’m sitting on the far end of a narrowing limb and using my saw on the “inside” end of the branch by saying so, but I think Silent Cal’s “conservative libertarianism” best describes our economic system.

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