GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (Sept. 6, 2013) – In his new book, Tea Party Catholic: The Catholic Case for Limited Government, a Free Economy, and Human Flourishing (The Crossroad Publishing Co., 2013), Samuel Gregg draws on Catholic social teaching and the thought of Charles Carroll of colonial Maryland – the only Catholic Signer of America’s Declaration of Independence – to make a powerful case for the enduring value of economic freedom and the role it plays in sustaining America’s unique experiment in political and religious liberty.
In Tea Party Catholic , Gregg poses important questions about America’s founding principles that are increasingly under threat. Can a believing Catholic support free markets? Does the Catholic social justice commitment translate directly into support for big government? And perhaps most importantly: Do Catholics understand how the loss of economic freedom in America is undermining the United States’ robust commitment to religious liberty?
This First Amendment right – not simply to worship privately but to express one’s faith in the fullness of civic life – is a principle integral not only to the American Founding but also to the teaching of the Second Vatican Council.
“Unfortunately for the Church in America, it is now apparent that the effects of excessive government economic intervention go beyond Americans’ ability to engage their economic liberty in the pursuit of human flourishing,” Gregg writes in Tea Party Catholic. “It is now directly impacting a freedom that has always been central to the achievements of the American Revolution and to which the American republic has always accorded a high priority: the right of religious liberty.”
Describing Gregg as “one of the top two or three writers on the free society today,” the eminent American social philosopher and theologian Michael Novak says that Tea Party Catholic “has things to say to all Catholic Americans – regardless of party allegiance or view of the role of government … As I read through his six chapters with growing admiration, I saw that Gregg means to foster three world-transformative ideas: limited government, religious liberty, and economic liberty. And he does so with a strong grasp of the natural law and the long Catholic intellectual tradition.”
Beginning with the nature of freedom and what leads to human flourishing, Gregg underscores the moral and economic benefits of business and markets as well as the welfare state’s growing problems. He then applies his ideas to hot button issues such as immigration, poverty, the nature of social justice, the role of unions, and the relationship between secularism and big government.
As a creative minority, to use Pope Emeritus Benedict’s apt phrase, Gregg makes a case for the role of limited government Catholics in transforming the wider American movement for freedom and its aim to reground the United States on its founding principles.
Samuel Gregg is director of research for the Acton Institute in Grand Rapids, Mich. (www.acton.org ) He is the author of many books, including most recently Becoming Europe (2013), The Modern Papacy (2009) and the prize-winning The Commercial Society (2007). He lectures regularly in America and Europe on topics related to Catholicism, culture, and the morality of the free economy.
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Crossroad Publishing, based in New York, publishes books that are consistent with basic Judeo-Christian values, the dignity of life, and aim to share the rich experience of Catholic culture and history. Visit (www.crossroadpublishing.com/ ) to learn more about Crossroad.