Centesimus Annus

A Society of Mutual Benefactors

Checking out at the grocery store the other day, I paid for my sack of rolls. The checkout person handed me my bag. "Thank you," I said. "You're welcome," she said. I walked away with a sense that something was wrong. Do checkout people usually say "you're welcome" and nothing else? Not usually. Usually they [...]

Why Are the Bishops Forcing the Issue of Health Care?

  If ever there were a time when Catholics should not trust the United States government, it is now. The president, his administration, and the congressional leadership are removing all the abortion restrictions put in place since Roe v. Wade. And yet, the bishops are backing a proposal to give the federal government complete control [...]

Your Life Is a Gift

  The pope's new encyclical, Caritas in Veritate (CV), is a "big" document, and I won't pretend to dispose of it with a brief commentary. Like its ancestor, the epochal Rerum Novarum, it will work its way through the mills of hundreds of thinkers for decades to come -- provoking responses by writers of every [...]

Abortion and the Consumer Society

  Pro-life Catholics fall into two camps on the issue of abortion: those who see it first and foremost as an individual moral failing, and those who consider it primarily a social moral failing.   There is nothing mutually exclusive about the two positions, of course, but that isn't the problem. The real issue here [...]

Is Capitalism Catholic?

People who study economics are often told that modern capitalism is an outgrowth of a certain English Protestant or agnostic tradition represented by writers such as John Locke, David Hume, Adam Smith, and John Stuart Mill. The notion of a link between capitalism and Protestantism owes a lot to Max Weber's famous thesis The Protestant [...]

The Fall of the Wall

I must admit right up front that I am anything but an economist. My fiscal sensibility was formed by the heritage of seven generations of Pennsylvania Mennonite farmers. We live within our means. We don't buy what we can't pay for. We don't have debt and we don't gamble with our money -- either in [...]

Economics As Science: A Catholic Defense of the Free Market

Put forth a robust defense of the free market as the most morally and materially satisfying economic system and you invite all manner of invective and accusation. What are you, some kind of dissenter? Not so fast. Although the documents of modern Catholic social teaching normally begin with Rerum Novarum (1891), students should instead start [...]

MENU