At the National Catholic Reporter, Michael Sean Winters makes the "Catholic Case against Libertarianism." Along the way, he remarks on the condescension of those who have attributed Pope Francis's bracing language about inequality to his South American ignorance of how we Americans do capitalism.

The most appalling critique is the meme that poor Pope Francis is a benighted Argentine, incapable of recognizing the virtues of capitalism because of his experience. In the first place, insofar as capitalism is now a global system—and recall that the libertarians tend to be great champions of globalization—Pope Francis’ experience of it is as valid as anyone else’s. But, more alarmingly, I do not recall any of my conservative or libertarian friends objecting to anything that came from the mouth or pen of St. Pope John Paul II because he was a Pole, or raising the concern that a doctrinal statement by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI must be dismissed, or minimized, or so heavily contextualized as to be dismissed, because of the narrow vision he brought with him from Bavaria. 

Winters, who is a visiting fellow at Catholic University’s Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies, has helped organize the institute's conference on libertarianism and Catholic social teaching, which will take place tomorrow in Washington D.C. Among the speakers and panelists will be Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, archbishop of Tegucigalpa and chair of Council of Cardinals; Spokane Bishop Blase Cupich; John DiIulio of the University of Pennsylvania; and Mark Shields of the PBS Newshour. I'll be participating in the afternoon roundtable discussion on "How Libertarianism Affects the Culture." I'll post a link to video of the conference as soon as it becomes available.

Matthew Boudway is senior editor of Commonweal.

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