Catholic Social Teaching and American Conservatism

“may mercy, peace, and love be yours in abundance.” Jude 1:2

Do you think that adherents of Catholic Social Teaching may or can have a place in the following spheres of the American political world-specifically the American conservative movement. In fast do you think that someone who follows Catholic Social Teaching can simultaneously be considered a Conservative or Libertarian? Please be charitable :slight_smile:
*]The GOP
*]The Tea Party
*]Libertarians(eith big L or little L)

Thank you for your time and excuse the overt political nature of the post
Have a good day :wave:

If one believes that most political issues are also moral issues then it makes sense to ask this question. In my case, I believe that very few political issues also face us with moral questions so I reject the idea that any party can be more in line with CST than any other party.

Aside from those issues on which the church has said we are dealing with intrinsic evils (abortion, euthanasia, …) she has no doctrines that would direct our choices in solving political problems. Pick whatever issue you choose (immigration, health care, the budget…) and see if you can identify what moral choices we face in resolving it. My position is that we are not presented with moral choices but prudential ones: will option A work better than option B? As long as I may reasonably believe that the option I prefer will work better than the alternative and it involves neither great risk nor intrinsic evil then there can be no sin in my supporting it. Hence there is no moral distinction in choosing A over B.


I agree that most “political” issues involve prudential judgment.

However, I would suggest that there are certain principles enunciated in the Social Encyclicals to which Catholics should give deference; principles that neither party follows.

First among those is the principle that the most proximate, capable level of society has an obligation to provide decent resources for those who cannot help themselves. Neither party does anything about that. The Dem party is focused on middle class welfare. The Repub party is focused on facilitating the conditions for “self-help”.

By definition, those who cannot help themselves are not able to “self-help”, nor are they “middle class”.

And the Dems are not interested in empowering the most proximate capable levels of society, preferring concentration at the federal level. The Repubs are more interested in subsidiarity, at least bringing it down to the state level.

I think your response exactly captures what most people perceive about what the parties are doing and how they don’t follow CST. It seems to me, however, is that what you are doing is not judging their policies so much as you are judging the politicians. If you get more specific about particular policies this might become clearer. Pick any particular proposal (raise the minimum wage, eliminate program X, build a border fence…) and explain where the moral choice is. I don’t think it can be done without essentially saying “My solution will work, your solution will fail, therefore your solution is immoral.”


I do not identify with any political party or group. Our duty as Catholics is to be informed voters. Get the facts, weigh them as far as their social/moral impact and vote accordingly. Ignore all the talk and sound bites. Check a candidate’s voting record, for example. The mass media won’t do it for you or just offer sound bites to make the other guy sound bad.

For me, the moment I hear the word ‘change’ as part of any campaign slogan, that raises a red flag. Change is not always good. Changing something does mean the problem will be fixed, it may just get shuffled into another category so that during the next voting cycle, it may have to be changed again.

Our other necessary job is to give others the facts as well.


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