Cardinal Tackles Libertarian Individualism as Harmful to Solidarity

by PETER JESSERER SMITH, National Catholic Register  |  published on June 9, 2014

WASHINGTON — As a variety of forms of social and political libertarianism gain in popularity in the United States, Cardinal Oscar Rodríguez Maradiaga of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, appeared at an event sponsored by The Catholic University of America to present the Church’s social teachings articulated by Pope Francis against radical individualism in economic, social, and political life.

Cardinal Maradiaga gave the keynote speech at the CUA-sponsored June 3 conference on Catholicism and Libertarianism, held at Bread for the World’s headquarters in Washington. The event, dubbed “Erroneous Liberty: the Catholic Case Against Libertarianism,” invited speakers to present the Church’s social teaching against the individualist worldview in libertarianism.

He addressed the reaction against Pope Francis’ critique of the modern economy — mainly from U.S. political conservatives suspicious of any criticism of the market or capitalism — with his own analysis of the Pope’s social teaching in his apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel).

Cardinal Maradiaga pointed out that Pope Francis, back in 2007 as Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, expressed concerned that “the poor in the dominating neo-liberal economic system were superfluous, mere waste and rubbish.” And that the global economy, without social solidarity, had forced the poor from the margins of society into “social exclusion.”

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