Classical Liberalism

I know mainstream liberalism is totally incompatible with Catholicism but what about Classical Liberalism? What I mean by ‘Classical Liberalism’ is the political philosophy which finds its origins in the writings of thinkers like John Locke and Edmund Burke. Classical Liberals are very passionate about limited government, the free market and very little interference in what people do (so, absolute free speech for example). I can see how the last of these could cause problems as absolute free speech would include blasphemy and, if there is little interference in what people do, many evils would be permitted.

What do you guys think?

Thanks in advance :slight_smile:

I’m a Classic Liberal, and I see no conflict.

Since when is Catholicism opposed to free speech?

Nor does it require that we try to get the government to regulate all behavior.

As a Classic Liberal, I see part of the the government’s role of protecting us from harm to include protecting us from homicide–whether born or not!

Almsot all of the Founding Father’s were Classic Liberals. My politics would have been middle of the road at the Constitutional Convention. Over the decades, they’ve drifted, pretty much on the straight line between Jefferson and Hamilton, and in Hamilton’s direction.


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Classical liberalism is essentially libertarianism

If a tree is rotten, cut it down.

Modern liberals are just classical liberals who’ve observed that entities other than the government can limit people’s “freedom”.

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May I call the original premise in question? When has the Church condemned liberalism?

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I’d say you have a pretty wrong idea of Catholicism to say it’s incompatible with modern liberalism. What is it incompatible with? State-run healthcare? Gun control? Social democracy? There are plenty of Catholics who are liberals and even communists with the only departure from Marxism being their lack of atheism. There are also Catholics that disagree with church stances on things like it’s views on homosexuality, are they less catholic?

I don’t think Catholicism is incompatible with as many ideologies as people claim

When I refer to ‘mainstream liberalism’, I am referring to the the pro-abortion, pro-gay “marriage”, socialist etc crowd. Needless to say, the Church rejects all these things.


You cannot be Catholic and Communist. You also cannot reject Church teaching on homosexuality.


More specifically, Libertarianism is the extreme form of Classic Liberalism.

To oversimplify, Classis Liberals think of government as a necessary evil, while Libertarians dispute that it’s necessary

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Those of us who are “mainstream liberals” would reject your definition. Labels are always misleading. Don’t use them.

Well, how do you define it?

I wouldn’t. I would use specific issues: Could a Catholic be in favor of absolute free speech? or Could a Catholic support abortion?

Says who? Are you telling me you can’t organize a society based on communism while being catholic? Forget about the Soviet Union, think more in terms of Kibbutz

A Catholic could NEVER support abortion.


The Catechism says you cannot.

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A lot of classical liberalism is congruent with Catholic teaching. The difference is in the application of different morals when it comes to individual choice.

Rightful so. Those things are contrary to Church teaching. The same could be said for conservatism, as most conservatives also believe in the continued use of the death penalty, wealth disparity, while rejecting Catholic social teaching. Yet I would never hold that conservatism today is incompatible with Catholicism.

So, can you show where the Catholic Church has said the liberalism is incompatible with the faith, not just abortion and some gay rights.

Absolutely. That is a given. Also, communism, as in Marxism, has been condemned and is incompatible, though a lesser degree of socialism has not been condemned. Likewise, unrestricted free enterprise has been condemned, but not free enterprise where the market is justly regulated.

Abortion, gay “marriage”, assisted suicide,

So you can’t really be Catholic and a commie as ever other Communist regime has been rigorously ant-Christian, these people are a minute minority of Communists that shouldn’t support a ideology that, on a whole, wants to wipe our religion away.

Yes, what about people that disagree with the Church’s stance on abortion? While homosexuality is a much lesser sin it still is one and there for isn’t compatible with our faith.


Neither of which is contrary to the teachings of the Church. Though communism, the ideology that holds that wealth disparities must be abolished by state force, is.

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