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14 - Are Some Men Angels? Modern Catholic Social Thought and Trust in Government

from Part III - Themes in Catholic Social Teaching

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 July 2019

Gerard V. Bradley
Affiliation:
University of Notre Dame, Indiana
E. Christian Brugger
Affiliation:
St Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary, Florida
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Summary

Catholic social thought has always emphasized that the state or government plays an essential role in political, social, and economic life, but government’s role has been increasingly emphasized since 1960. Trends in modern secular thought and political practice that have placed a greater emphasis on government solutions to social problems and are less inclined toward other (and especially free market) solutions, may be one factor in this increased emphasis. As CST has embraced the idea of more active government, it has always qualified that embrace with important limits, some of which are discussed. But in this chapter I ask, “To what extent has CST considered the possibility of government abusing its expanded powers to regulate?” and “What suggestions does it offer for dealing with such abuses?” The answer to both questions is, I suggest, “Not enough.” The primary point I make is not that CST ought to adopt a particular stance regarding the specific institutional limits on government that should be employed, or how much government power ought to be limited, but rather that it is a significant gap in CST that it barely considers this issue at all.

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Catholic Social Teaching
A Volume of Scholarly Essays
, pp. 345 - 364
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2019

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