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Libertarian Heresy

You don't often find Commonweal hunting heretics. In the latest issue, Daniel Finn takes aim at Fr. Robert Sirico of the Acton Institute and other Catholics who force fit Catholic social teaching into free market ideology. Sirico, he says, "uses his tendentious view of law and morality to conclude that raising taxes to help others is unchristian, since citizens have no choice but to pay the tax... One wonders if this conviction hasn’t been engendered by a libertarian view of government actions, where such redistribution is always immoral." Commonweal isn't alone in recognizing this distortion of Church teaching, which has always recognized the authority of government to balance private property rights with the "universal destination of goods." There is a silent majority of orthodox Catholics who resent Acton and other Catholic think tanks that are so well-funded by wealthy pro-big business donors that they're able to drown out genuine Catholic social teaching. Finn thinks its time that "neoconservative Catholics inquire into the influence of libertarianism on their work and, most importantly, that they make Catholic moral theology the standard for judging right-wing claims about morality in economic life-and not the other way around." READ MORE >


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