Pope Francis Hates Libertarianism

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In a message to the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, Pope Francis makes clear that what really makes his blood boil is libertarianism:


Finally, I cannot but speak of the serious risks associated with the invasion, at high levels of culture and education in both universities and in schools, of positions of libertarian individualism. A common feature of this fallacious paradigm is that it minimizes the common good, that is, “living well”, a “good life” in the community framework, and exalts the selfish ideal that deceptively proposes a “beautiful life”. If individualism affirms that it is only the individual who gives value to things and interpersonal relationships, and so it is only the individual who decides what is good and what is bad, then libertarianism, today in fashion, preaches that to establish freedom and individual responsibility, it is necessary to resort to the idea of “self-causation”. Thus libertarian individualism denies the validity of the common good because on the one hand it supposes that the very idea of “common” implies the constriction of at least some individuals, and the other that the notion of “good” deprives freedom of its essence.

The radicalization of individualism in libertarian and therefore anti-social terms leads to the conclusion that everyone has the “right” to expand as far as his power allows, even at the expense of the exclusion and marginalization of the most vulnerable majority. Bonds would have to be cut inasmuch as they would limit freedom. By mistakenly matching the concept of “bond” to that of “constraint”, one ends up confusing what may condition freedom – the constraints – with the essence of created freedom, that is, bonds or relations, family and interpersonal, with the excluded and marginalized, with the common good, and finally with God.

Go here to read the rest.  Of all the ideologies that the Pope could get upset about he has chosen the one that has never persecuted the Church, or anyone else for that matter, and that believes in voluntary exchanges and associations as the basis of society.  There are plenty of critiques that could be made of libertarianism on practical grounds, but the idea that the Church should condemn it is absurd.

Why did the Pope decide to do so?  Well, in the rest of his message he makes that obvious:

1. The first point I would like to bring to your attention is the now necessary broadening of the traditional notion of justice, which can not be restricted to judgment at the time of distribution of wealth, but must go further, to the moment of its production. It is not enough, that is, to claim the “just goods to the worker” as recommended by the Rerum novarum (1891). It is also necessary to ask whether or not the production process takes place with respect for the dignity of human labour; whether or not it accepts basic human rights; whether or not it is compatible with moral norms. In Gaudium et spes, (no. 67,) tells us: “The entire process of productive work, therefore, must be adapted to the needs of the person and to his way of life”. Labour is not merely a factor in production that, as such, has to adapt to the needs of the production process to increase its efficiency. On the contrary, it is the production process that must be organized in such a way as to enable the human growth of people and harmony between time for family and working life.

It is necessary to be convinced that such a project, in today’s post-industrial society, is feasible, as long as it is desired. That is why the Social Doctrine of the Church (SDC) insistently invites us to find ways to apply, in practice, fraternity as the governing principle of the economic order. Where other lines of thought speak only of solidarity, the SDC speaks instead of fraternity, since a fraternal society is also typified by solidarity, while the opposite is not always the case, as so many experiences confirm. The appeal, therefore, is to remedy the mistake of contemporary culture, which has led to the belief that a democratic society can progress by keeping separate the code of efficiency – which would be enough to regulate relationships between humans within the sphere of the economy – and the code of solidarity, which would regulate inter-subject relationships within the social sphere. It is this dichotomy that has impoverished our societies.

Translation from Pope speak:  The State must control the economy for the good of society.  That such control at best leads to economic stagnation and massive corruption and, at worst, leads to the most blood stained tyrannies that have ever existed on this planet, concerns the Pope not a whit since he is far above such practical mundane considerations.  The Pope wants to bring about utopia on this planet and that cannot be done without State control and regimentation, or so the Pope clearly believes, and libertarianism, at least in theory, stands in the path of the world he wishes to bring about.


Anti-Catholic bigots always claim that Popes are enemies of human freedom.  Alas in Pope Francis that old false canard is now a simple statement of fact.  All Catholics who cherish human freedom must stand against this secular vision of the Pope, which is merely a repackaging in religious trappings of the leftist vision of the State controlling the economy.

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  1. I don’t want to put words in his mouth, but it seems as if he says whatever you think of Jesus is irrelevant. Be a good person; do good things as defined by more modern, progressive sensitivities; embrace a socialist world view; and it’s heaven bound. A Pelagius meets Marx Romans Road. I might be wrong. But the more he talks, the more this is what I hear.

  2. True Dave. The Pope proposes endless and instant mercy for those who commit what the Church traditionally defines as sin; not so much for those who do not share his political beliefs.

  3. “The radicalization of individualism in libertarian and therefore anti-social terms leads to the conclusion that everyone has the “right” to expand as far as his power allows, even at the expense of the exclusion and marginalization of the most vulnerable majority.”

    Bull crap. Bull freaking crap! The ignorant, indolent, decadent majority are precisely the problem. They are the ones who exclude and marginalized the individual. Two wolves and one sheep voting on what’s for dinner – Democracy – is precisely the problem. This Pope knows nothing about the principle of the non-initiation of force inherent in libertarianism which denies to the individual “the ‘right’ to expand as far as his power allows.”

    What Jorge Bergioglio really hates is the individual person being held responsible before man and before God for the consequences of his own actions or inactions. He hates that. He cannot conceive what St. Paul wrote so long ago: whatsoever a man soweth, that also shall he reap. Here is a decade old You Tube video that explains what this Pope’s mind is not big enough to comprehend.


    PS, I am not libertarian. The reason why is that the Libertarian Party supports abortion and sodomy. Undermining the family, the building block of society, by things like abortion and sodomy is suicidal. No individual has the right to initiate force against anyone else. Abortion is force directly – murder of a human being. Sodomy is force indirectly – murder of marriage between one man and one woman, the foundation of the family. So if the Pope opposed Libertarianism on those grounds, then I could see his point. Instead however he vaults off into the usual social justice, common good, peace at any price nonsense: all that Argentinian Marxist Peronist idiocy. He does NOT point to SIN (abortion and sodomy) in order to forbid it.

    Until this Pope is deposed and anathematized, the Church will continue to fall.

  4. The problem is that His Holiness is not as smart or as educated as he thinks he is. He opines without understanding, leaning on the Papacy as a crutch which prevents critique from reaching his settled consciousness. He is anti-intellectual and dogmatic, harsh and unkind, judgmental and impatient and all of those flaws are elevated to goods by his supporters, thereby reinforcing his elevated sense of self.

    Honestly, if you and Father Z stopped covering his nonsense, I wouldn’t have any idea what embarrassing thing he said, on any given day. I have tuned him out. The moment I read “Pope Francis…” I move to the next article.

    This is new for me. I devoured Benedict’s writings and JPII’s as well. I read Chaput’s writings and Burke’s so it isn’t that I don’t want to hear from learned church men, it is that Pope Francis isn’t, and that is a tragedy.

  5. Hey! What happened to your website? I want the old one back….No graphics, side bars,favorite sites, links, where’s the Eagle? Looks so bare….I’m sure it’s the same content, but I don’t like how it looks. Bare bones. Sorry just looks so boring…
    Also- can’t see what you are typing in below for name et…? What’s going on?

  6. OOPS! Must be something on my computer! The site just came back the way it always was, pictures, colours, blogroll, even the little bust of Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus in a circle! Never mind!

  7. The Pope cannot make use of political terminology in a way that is explanatory rather than confounding. With regard to libertarian social thought, you can come up with a half-dozen strands of it in just the English-speaking world. I don’t expect the Pope to write compare-and-contrast essays about the writings of John Stuart Mill and Milton Friedman, but if he’s going to open his trap, he might just know the lay of the land a bit.

  8. I really despise much of what I have read about Libertarianism. At least to how it projects itself in the USA, Libertarians favor laissez-faire economics, abortion, gay marriage, complete legalization of drugs, legalization of prostitution and completely open borders. There is no morality except fulfilling your own desires….Ayn Rand on steroids.

    The Roman Pontiff’s ramblings on libertarianism are not unlike Don Quixote charging the windmills.

  9. Christine, That happens once or twice a week.

    The man never fails to disappoint.

    Totalitarian mindset: Don’t look at what’s happening in Venezuela and every place they forced socialism on a people.

    Elites and the smart kids are killing America and Europe, and, in particular, the middle classes. US National debt deteriorated 89% rising $9.4 trillion from $10.6 trillion to $20 trillion. National debt per capital nearly doubled going to $61,340 from $31,000. Labor force participation rate crashed 5% from 65.8% to 62.8%.

    Home Ownership Rate dropped from 67.3% to 63.5%. Real Median Household Income declined 6.4% from $57,744 to $54,045. Food stamp dependence worsened by 36% from 32 million to 43.6 million.

    Persons in poverty rose by 7 million destitute Americans deteriorating 18% to 45 million from 38 million.

    Never achieved 3% annual GDP growth. The powers-that-be not only fear and loathe the masses, they are totally incompetent.

    To be fair, he’s not the first Pope to tell peasants to keep in their place.

  10. Libertarians favor laissez-faire economics, abortion, gay marriage, complete legalization of drugs, legalization of prostitution and completely open borders. There is no morality except fulfilling your own desires….Ayn Rand on steroids.

    Ayn Rand had no time for the Libertarian Party or the libertarian wing of the Young Americans for Freedom. Neither she nor her literary executors have taken an interest in striking attitudes in the realm of practical politics. She endorsed Gerald Ford.

    What you say is pretty true of the strand of libertarianism you find in the Libertarian Party and the Reason Foundation. Another strand is very concerned with the protection of private property, positive law, the maintenance of legal tradition concerned with private property and freedom of contract, and so forth. They’re not invested in promoting adolescent pursuits. A modern thinker in this vein would be Gottfried Dietze. The tricorn hat wing of starboard politics has a great affinity for this sort of libertarianism.

  11. How is this any different from the leftist garbage put forth by practically every western bishop? Just look at how our bishops here in the U.S., even those who are considered strongly orthodox, repackage left-wing economic and suicidal immigration policies as Catholic Social Doctrine and, like Pope Francis, smear those who take differing, yet legitimately Catholic positions on these issues.

  12. Remember, this is a man who flunked his doctoral comps, let alone composed a functional thesis, but all the time parades himself as a Great Mind.

  13. Supreme Comrade Bergoglio has again shown himself to be both an enemy of Man and an enemy of God as he opposes freedom and celebrates oppression.

  14. Don R Mc et al, What will we do in future if and when a person who accepts and follows the Magisterium is elected Pope? Not to worry? The St G Mafia is in control? Re Mercy, see below. Guy McClung, San Antonio TX

    La Misericordia Bulla

    Mercy for you, mercy from me.
    Hosanna, mercy! Hosanna, me !

    Dogma says “don’t”, doctrine says “whoa”!
    Tradition says “halt”. Serviam? I say No.

    Sin can be virtue, virtue be sin.
    But mercy is mercy, Voila! Sin again.

    Obstinate, harsh, hateful justice is wrong.
    Mercy the prize, dance to my song.

    Mercy the rock, the rock built on me.
    So it is now and ever will be.

    Mercy for all, unring the bell.
    Satan is saved, though his ideal is hell

    Mercy for you, mercy from me.
    Hosanna, mercy! Hosanna, me!

    Guy McClung
    Catholic Lane 2016

  15. I wonder where “free will” fits into the view of this communist anti-pope? Whenever he opens his mouth, his foolishness and complete lack of Christian charity cause me to experience spiritual revulsion. I believe he is evil incarnate.

  16. The sub-group of Libertarians he describes are a serious issue, all the more because they are frequently the result of people who broke free of the nasty communist philosophies.

    That is probably why he is upset by it– we’ve noticed before that he seems to be trying to “reach out” to those caught in the soul-devouring philosophy, and in this case– zip! They go from one ditch to clear across the other side of the road, right into the other ditch.

    They’re both bad because they both reject the inherent value of people; one by insisting there’s no worth to people, only groups, the other by insisting there’s no worth to people, only individuals.

    On a practical level, the “everything is OK if it’s freely chosen by the individual,” usually with a requirement for explicit agreement (to get them out of the reality that having sex IS trying to make a baby, or to excuse them from having to support that which they were happy to use) is a rather big problem, because just like communism it doesn’t work. Both philosophies have to keep getting new resources because they can’t build up.

  17. Tom Woods has an interesting take on this: essentially “Libertarian” to a European means “libertine.” Not at all the same thing as “libertarian” to an American.

  18. Yves Simon’s General Theory of Authority is very good on this question.

    “Human communities are the highest attainment of nature for they are virtually unlimited with regard to diversity of perfections, and are virtually immortal.” He is talking not about what God has in mind for us in eternal life but what, in this world, is the purpose of the “highest of the practical sciences,” as Aristotle called politics.

    The polity, at its best, was designed that men bring forth the perfection of their knowing and artistic capacities within an order that allowed them to pass individual lives benefiting from the temporal and spiritual goods made possible by different persons bringing forth differing accomplishments and perfections, yet making them available to each other.

    “Beyond the satisfaction of individual needs, the association of men serves a good unique in plenitude and duration, the common good of the human community.” This “common good” is not a separate “being” into which individual persons are somehow subsumed. Rather it is a “good” that recognizes that each citizen also has a transcendent destiny that is not merely political. Moreover, the polity itself exists as a relation of order among men, whose being, whose substance, grounds the polity’s reality, which cannot exist without them.

    The highest activity/being in the natural order is free arrangement of men about what is good brought together in an actual polity where it is no longer a mere abstraction. This is, as it were, the inner-worldly purpose of our being on this earth. The polity itself, however, is, or should be, organized in such a fashion that the transcendent finality of each individual person is recognized as operative in him.

  19. The polity, at its best, was designed that men bring forth the perfection of their knowing and artistic capacities within an order that allowed them to pass individual lives benefiting from the temporal and spiritual goods made possible by different persons bringing forth differing accomplishments and perfections, yet making them available to each other.

    Uh huh. Can we start with ‘defend the shores, deliver the mail, pick up the trash, and clap the local hoodlums in jail”? When we get some basics down, maybe we consider some other things.

  20. Christine, the website has changed on my computer also. The comment space is small about a 1/4″.
    Sometimes the information on the right side of the site is there and sometimes not. Liked the website the way it was, but I’m happy that TAC is still in business.

  21. Art Deco wrote, “Uh huh. Can we start with ‘defend the shores, deliver the mail, pick up the trash, and clap the local hoodlums in jail”?”
    “If the state is confused with civil society, and if its specific end is laid down as the security and protection of property and personal freedom, then the interest of the individuals as such becomes the ultimate end of their association, and it follows that membership of the state is something optional. But the state’s relation to the individual is quite different from this. Since the state is mind objectified, it is only as one of its members that the individual himself has objectivity, genuine individuality, and an ethical life. Unification pure and simple is the true content and aim of the individual, and the individual’s destiny is the living of a universal life. His further particular satisfaction, activity and mode of conduct have this substantive and universally valid life as their starting point and their result.” G W Hegel, “Philosophy of Right” 258

  22. Or, the polity can fail even “to deliver the mail, pick up the garbage” and yet try to slap the citizenry with a massive unsustainable pension debt—a reward by polits to their government union friends and employees: e.g., that ultimately benighted state, Puerto Rico, files for a form of Ch.9-like bankruptcy.

    And soon likewise: Philadelphia, perhaps the State of Illinois, and as certain as Habakkuk’s watch, this equally morally darkened state of Californication.

  23. The Pope knows about as much about the substance of Libertarianism and Pius IX knew about Modernism. Both looked at the framework and decided the didn’t like what was inside, never mind that they didn’t even to try to separate the real from the dross. Both Pontiffs were obviously affected by their background and environment which is all the more reason for them to step out of their comfort zones in order to become informed enough to comment competently. Finally, what is truly regrettable is that such simply gives ammunition to those who consider the Church backward, hidebound and irrelevant.

  24. Yup.
    He is what he is: a 1970s Liberation Theology Jesuit.
    Which means he is a socialist, communist sympathizer.
    Thanks for nothin’, Jorge’.

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