Pope Francis Denounces ‘Invasion’ of Libertarian Individualism

In a recent message, Pope Francis denounced libertarianism and the individualism that inspires it:

I cannot but speak of the serious risks associated with the invasion, at high levels of culture and education in both universities and in schools, of positions of libertarian individualism. A common feature of this fallacious paradigm is that it minimizes the common good, that is, “living well”, a “good life” in the community framework, and exalts the selfish ideal that deceptively proposes a “beautiful life”. If individualism affirms that it is only the individual who gives value to things and interpersonal relationships, and so it is only the individual who decides what is good and what is bad, then libertarianism, today in fashion, preaches that to establish freedom and individual responsibility, it is necessary to resort to the idea of “self-causation”. Thus libertarian individualism denies the validity of the common good because on the one hand it supposes that the very idea of “common” implies the constriction of at least some individuals, and the other that the notion of “good” deprives freedom of its essence.

The radicalization of individualism in libertarian and therefore anti-social terms leads to the conclusion that everyone has the “right” to expand as far as his power allows, even at the expense of the exclusion and marginalization of the most vulnerable majority. Bonds would have to be cut inasmuch as they would limit freedom. By mistakenly matching the concept of “bond” to that of “constraint”, one ends up confusing what may condition freedom – the constraints – with the essence of created freedom, that is, bonds or relations, family and interpersonal, with the excluded and marginalized, with the common good, and finally with God.

For more on why the Catholic Church is fundamentally opposed to libertarianism, you can read:

Francis’ critique of libertarianism echoes the Gospels by Michael Sean Winters

The Catholic Faith or Libertarianism: Pick One by Robert Christian

Key Thoughts from “Erroneous Autonomy: The Catholic Case against Libertarianism”

The Catholic Case against Libertarianism: Steve Schneck and Mark Shields

The Catholic Case against Libertarianism (Part II): Cardinal Rodriguez and Bishop Cupich

Solidarity, Imago Dei, and the Catholic Case against Libertarianism