Why do some Catholics lean politically conservative?


Hello, how are you? I just want to ask why some Catholics lean conservative or libertarian on many political or policy issues? For example, when I look at the issues outside of certain social issues, it seems like the Catholic position would be very compatible with the left-leaning or progressive view. And I know this sounds childish but the conservative or “right-leaning” agenda seems to be presented in a way that is well “harsh”.

PS: I don’t want this discussion to spiral out of control; meaning I want civil and calm discussion. If rules are against political postings, then, please flag this discussion so it may close.


I would assume because they have prayerfully discerned and come to the conclusion that this party is the lesser of 2 evils, at least in the American 2-party system

Well, those social issues are crucial to the dignity of the human person, which is a fundamental precept of the Church. If She changes on those, all bets are off.

Presented by whom?


I know this is a troll… right?
Why is believing in God and wanting to be able to express that belief in daily life and words and works harsh?
Why is believing in law and order harsh?
Why is believing in truth and justice harsh?
Why is believing in the sanctity of life from conception to natural death harsh?
Changing and breaking the rules for whatever reason is not a good thing.


No, I’m a real person, albeit who is very interested in politics. I wanted to ask why some Catholic lean more “right” on issues like care for the poor, the environment, health care and immigration to name some.


subsidiarity, in a word


Because they support the rule of law and want to see it enforced as it written, not as certain groups will it to be? The US is a nation of laws…


It is called the Constitution. Many Americans believe that it was inspired by God.


‘a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest…’


Actually, did you know that the Welfare State is a Protestant innovation. The Elizabethan Poor Law- history’s first major Great Society type scheme- is named for and was sponsored by the Protestant virgin queen of Great Britain. The reason why it was necessary was that the English closed and dissolved the assets of their monasteries and religious orders which previously had provided assistance to the indigent.


I really don’t understand where you’re coming from with this question. Some people lean more to the left, some more to the right, and that goes for Catholics just as much as it does for Calvinists, atheists, and everybody else. Isn’t that obvious?


Which is noxiously heretical.


Liberals propose plans they believe will help the needy. Conservatives oppose those plans because they believe they will actually make things worse. Liberals respond by charging that conservatives don’t want to help the needy. It would appear that you have accepted the liberals explanation of conservative thought rather than the reason conservatives give.

Assuming that conservatives care less about the needy because they oppose certain proposals also assumes not only that those proposals would solve the problems they are directed at, but are so obviously the proper solution that the only reason to oppose them is if one didn’t want the problem solved. That’s pretty much the charge being made, and it seems a pretty silly one.


Personally, a lot of the left politics are anti-Christian, specifically in regards to abortion, same-sex marriage, and now gender identity.

On the areas of the poor and the environment, the teachings of Christ in those are directed at the individual. The care for the poor in the leftist tradition, is seen as a function of the State. While the true Christian view is that it is a function of the individual. We are to PERSONALLY help the poor, not simply vote to have someone’s money taken from them instead.

We can see that in the words of St. John Chrysostom, a Doctor of the Church

Should we look to kings and princes to put right the inequalities between rich and poor? Should we require soldiers to come and seize the rich person’s gold and distribute it among his destitute neighbors? Should we beg the emperor to impose a tax on the rich so great that it reduces them to the level of the poor and then to share the proceeds of that tax among everyone? Equality imposed by force would achieve nothing, and do much harm.

Those who combined both cruel hearts and sharp minds would soon find ways of making themselves rich again. Worse still, the rich whose gold was taken away would feel bitter and resentful; while the poor who received the gold from the hands of soldiers would feel no gratitude, because no generosity would have prompted the gift. Far from bringing moral benefit to society, it would actually do moral harm. Material justice cannot be accomplished by compulsion, a change of heart will not follow. The only way to achieve true justice is to change people’s hearts first – and then they will joyfully share their wealth.

Most of the left’s policies towards the poor run directly counter to the works of St John, and the end result is exactly what St John predicts, resentment on the part of the rich, and a lack of gratitude by the poor, with a total lack of any change of heart on either side.


Leftists or liberals or Democrats or whatever you call it have become less identified with “helping the poor”, particularly the working poor and laboring persons in general, and more identified with a lot of special interest groups such as “pro-choice”, LGBTQ, racial/ ethnic minorities, gun control advocates, and groups against a strong military.

Conservatives actually do a better job of helping some underprivileged groups, such as veterans and certain groups of workers. Conservatives are also sometimes (not always) better at growing the economy so more people can work and need less of a handout. And in this society, as people have noted on this thread, conservative values tend to be more in line with Catholic moral teachings in areas like abortion and gay rights. Conservatives are also generally more focused at keeping order in society.

I strongly doubt that even Jesus’ original Twelve all had the same political views. Matthew was a tax collector; he lived off the oppressive system in place. Nowadays Matthew would probably be a well-paid government bureaucrat. By contrast, Simon the Zealot was a revolutionary activist. He wanted to smash the Roman oppression and would have been one of the antifa running around in the street throwing bricks. They both were able to become brothers in Christ though they probably wouldn’t have had a civil word to say to each other on the street.


Contrary to what some posters above implied, Catholicism is not equivalent to the Republican Party platform. I think it’s pretty obvious that our Holy Father leans much more “left” than most on this forum when it comes to issues such as immigration, the environment, health care, or care for the poor. What you’re seeing, I think, is very much an American phenomenon. Catholics in Europe will have very different views.

Many here will try to present their personal, American conservative talking points as infallible dogma. This is extremely misleading.

Two very clear examples are the use of torture and capital punishment. The Catechism now condemns both under all circumstances, yet many here will defend both, relying on their personal interpretation of ancient magisterial texts.

Many political issues are left to the judgment of the individual.


Same reason some people lean left.
People are people. Politics is something that is real.
It’s not too complicated.


I diesgree with the notion that catholics in Europe lean to the left more than in the USA. The European left has a strong protestant and atheist factor. Think Scandinavia for example. Staunchly Catholic countries and regions such as Bavaria, Austria, Poland have a political right wing lean. Also in southern Europe, in places like Spain, there is a clear divide between left.leaning cities wioth strong atheist factions and cafeteria Catholicism, and rural areas where catholicism is still very much part of people’s lives. This is still very much reflected in electoral preferences. Countries such as Ireland are drifting further to the left as the Church loses influence. The right-swing in Pöland is happening on the basis of a revival of Catholicism, in part driven by the late Pope Johl Paul II and the role of the Catholic Church and clergy in opposing and finally bringing down Communism…


I don’t really follow the argument that the messgae of the Gospel is left wing.

Jesus spoke of charity, of giving to the poor. On the surafce of it, that may sound like a left wing policy. But he also spoke of personal responsability. He wanted people to personally give to the poor, not to devolve that responsibility to the government.


I really don’t think you have it right. Most think of me as “conservative” politically, though I’m more liberal than Obama in some things.

I do not see the liberal agenda as being at all consistent with Catholic teaching. Yes, they claim to care for the poor, the middle class, etc, but they’re at least as beholding to big business as the Repubs, if not more so. Hillary Clinton was on the board of directors of Walmart, remember? Do you think she proposed “open borders” in the “secret” speech at Goldman Sachs for the sake of immigrants? No, she was telling the bigwigs she was for cheap labor. Trump talks about a “big door” to legal immigration. Dems favor illegal immigration that keeps people illegal and their labor cheap.

Truth is, the left has done nothing for the poor for decades. Not to say the Repubs have been any better, but at least they don’t lie about it. Neither party has done anything for the truly poor since the Earned Income Credit, and that was Reagan’s.

I strongly recommend that you read the Social Encyclicals of the Popes, from Leo XIII on. They are far from endorsing the kinds of things the left talks about (but never really does).

The parties have virtually switched positions since I was young. The Repubs are now most similar to the Dems of decades ago. The Dems are now most similar to the “Rockefeller Republicans” of old.


It also depends how you define “left” and “right”. There isn’t an aligned global right…
I took a local political survey and my strong support for public transit infrastructure pushed me significantly to the left. I don’t think this would be seen as a “left” issue in Europe.


There are many reasons I am conservative. The biggest is abortion. As I have understood it it is a sin to vote for a party that runs a major part of its platform on pro abortion. I agree with most other conservative values as well but this has always been the biggest. Here is a good article on EWTN about it.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.