February 20, 2012 4:30 PM

Ron Paul not compatible with Catholic teaching

From RomanCatholicBlog.com. The first six frames are John Stossel's 2007 interview with Ron Paul (and it is well documented that Paul has been trying to make his message more palatable to Christian conservatives in recent years). Then the take from one Catholic's point of view.

I recommend everyone educate themselves on this because I believe strongly that Rick Santorum is a man who can lead us out of this darkness, but we need the support of those who've cast their lot with Ron Paul. Many Paul supporters do not have the facts, and we need to equip ourselves in order to reason with them:

Ron Paul - Not A Catholic Option

Here's the story: Ron Paul Unplugged - John Stossel Interviews Ron Paul On The Role Of Government

My thoughts:

Ron Paul is definitely a libertarian. There can be no question about that.

I can understand his appeal, but here's where I can't support him: he claims people should be free to do as they please, so long as they don't hurt anyone. That's not in keeping with the principles set forth in the preamble to the United States Constitution or Catholic teaching.

Ron Paul talks about legalizing drugs, legalizing prostitution, and allowing people to make their own choices. He adds that the government should not try to enforce virtue, because attempts to do so lead to a kind of totalitarianism.

Here's what I don't understand: I don't think there are federal laws against prostitution. It's regulated by the individual states. There are federal laws concerning drug use, and I suppose one could argue for leaving those laws to the state also, but Ron Paul goes beyond that. He's arguing that government should stay out of these things ad that they should be legalized.

Here's why they shouldn't (using Ron Paul's own standards).

Drug use, prostitution, abortion, suicide, physician assisted suicide, euthanasia, and any number of moral issues do, in fact, hurt others. The impact of those choices is not limited to those who choose to engage in those activities, they have a negative, overall effect on society.

People who abuse drugs cost society money. They miss work (if they work at all). They make poor choices under the influence (like the choice to drive). They show up for work under the influence or with lingering effects from their substance abuse and can cause injury or damage property. They abuse drugs while pregnant and injure unborn babies. They neglect their children and their other responsibilities.

Ron Paul is essentially arguing that everyone should be allowed to live like Anna Nicole Smith. Aside from the fact that Anna Nicole Smith's life was a train wreck, she hurt people by her choices. She hurt her children by her choices.

Ron Paul says government shouldn't be in the business of protecting people from themselves.

The preamble to the Constitution says:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Laws against drug abuse don't just attempt to "protect people from themselves". They are designed to help protect the rest of us from the consequences of drug abuse.

Yes, one can argue the effectiveness of such laws. They clearly aren't 100% effective, but neither are laws against rape or murder. That doesn't mean society should throw up their hands and say the government can't stop such things from happening so the government should just stay out of such affairs.

Those who argue that it is wrong for government to become involved in people's lives seem to forget the section of the preamble that says one of the reasons the United States Constitution was written and the government created by that document exists is to "promote the general welfare".

It is not in the best interest of society to allow for the basic building block of society, the family, to be ambiguously defined and/or denigrated by allowing for anyone to call any sort of arrangement a marriage and/or a family. Yet, when Ron Paul says homosexuals should be free to do as they please, including calling their relationships a marriage, he essentially argues for the government to do nothing to protect the family.

Ron Paul's position is that the government should not concern itself with marriage. While that isn't exactly granting homosexual unions legal recognition, it amounts to about the same thing.

Moreover, Considerations Regarding Proposals To Give Legal Recognition
To Unions Between Homosexual Persons
makes it clear that Ron Paul's position on homosexual unions is not the Catholic one:

Where the government's policy is de facto tolerance and there is no explicit legal recognition of homosexual unions, it is necessary to distinguish carefully the various aspects of the problem. Moral conscience requires that, in every occasion, Christians give witness to the whole moral truth, which is contradicted both by approval of homosexual acts and unjust discrimination against homosexual persons. Therefore, discreet and prudent actions can be effective; these might involve: unmasking the way in which such tolerance might be exploited or used in the service of ideology; stating clearly the immoral nature of these unions; reminding the government of the need to contain the phenomenon within certain limits so as to safeguard public morality and, above all, to avoid exposing young people to erroneous ideas about sexuality and marriage that would deprive them of their necessary defences and contribute to the spread of the phenomenon. Those who would move from tolerance to the legitimization of specific rights for cohabiting homosexual persons need to be reminded that the approval or legalization of evil is something far different from the toleration of evil.

It's tough to reconcile Ron Paul's position with Church teaching on the role of government with respect to homosexual unions.

It's tough to reconcile Ron Paul's view of government, in general, with Catholic teaching.

The role of human authority and human law is to uphold the common good. Salus populi, suprema lex [the good of the whole society ought to be the supreme law].

Ron Paul's vision of government, which is the libertarian position, is appealing in that it limits the expansion of government (which is also a goal of conservatives, hence libertarian appeal among conservatives).

The error of libertarianism (as espoused by Ron Paul) is that in its reactionary stance with respect to the role and influence of government (especially "big government" or "nanny state government" as espoused by liberals) and its zeal for individual freedom, libertarianism neglects the common good. It essentially leaves the common good to work itself out. Libertarian principles imply a kind of social Darwinism, and libertarian principles are not always in harmony with social conservatism, especially with respect to moral issues, as is evidenced by Ron Paul's positions on various moral issues.

Basically, true libertarianism is "pro-choice", not only with respect to abortion, but every personal moral choice. Libertarians will add that the limit is when personal choices hurt other people, but they're fuzzy on what that actually means and generally support the decriminalization of immoral activities they perceive as personal choices that are nobody else's business.

That's not a Catholic view of the role of human law and human government.

Here are some resources that will explain why:

Read more at RomanCatholicBlog.com

Posted in 2012 Campaign, Rick Santorum | Permalink


We are so far from the vision of the Founders, who never imagined such a powerful centralized government. All they really wanted to do with the Constitution was patch up some difficulties with relationships between the various STATES. Wow, have things gotten out of control, from money to military offense to nannyism to Royal Vacations for the Executive families and friends.

Instead of redistribution of wealth, how about we redistribute POWER? It is in the hands of too few (both government and industry). We must reverse the centralizing tendency. Most everything else is a small issue that pales in comparison to this overriding problem.

Ever heard of a central principle of Catholic social thought called Subsidiarity? Read An Open Letter to the Catholic Community in Behalf of Ron Paul

I urge people to vote with their head and not their heart and reverse the centralization of power.

Posted by: Paul Boyer | February 20, 2012 6:42 PM

Ahh! I love all of your posting! I don't get very many chances to come on and comment but I follow you on my blog reader when I have snippets of time.

Both my husband and I are very active in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormon) and have been big Santorum supporters from the get-go. It's been exciting to see him gain momentum. Also, makes me chuckle when people assume Romney would be my top-choice. I don't have a problem with Romney. There is actually much more to him than meets the eye. But Santorum would be my first pick, for sure!

Also, Libertarianism is the biggest problem with Ron Paul. I know he's not running as one right now, but he has in the past, and it reflects his values. So many Christians have been blindsided by the proclamation of "LIBERTY" but the sad truth is, you must cast your morals and religious values aside if you wish to vote and govern as a libertarian. Our system of government, and really all governments, function at their best when we USE our morals and religious values to make political decisions. They go hand in hand.

Ok...this is a RUN ON COMMENT! Just had to vent since I had a chance to actually get on here and comment. :)

Thanks for all of your posting.

Posted by: Amy | February 20, 2012 7:02 PM


You say in your post, "we need the support of those who've cast their lot with Ron Paul. Many Paul supporters do not have the facts, and we need to equip ourselves in order to reason with them." I watched all of these videos and am even more convinced to vote for Ron Paul. I'm not sure saying that Paul supporters don't know their candidate is going to convince anyone to abandon Paul. I've met many Ron Paul supporters and they seem to know their candidate quite well.

The older I have become, the more I've seen that both the Democrats and Republicans have a real problem with liberty and freedom. Too much freedom is not what is wrong with our country. Too much government is what is wrong with our country.

There have always been homosexuals. They are not destroying marriage. Marriage has been destroyed by the government getting involved in marriage in the first place and taking the authority away from churches. Ron Paul would love to give that authority back to churches. If churches could control marriage again, liberal churches would not be able to force their views upon conservative churches. If a conservative church didn't want there to be no-fault divorces in their congregation, they could practice this. However, with the state in control, we must all accept no-fault divorces, even if we are the most strict conservative Christians.

The way I see it, if we don't get back to States Rights, we will never see any conservative victories in this country. There aren't enough conservatives to win at the national level and we keep losing ground the more we take our battles to the federal government. With the current GOP, no state in the union can outlaw gay marriage or abortion. Under a Ron Paul presidency, reducing the scope of the federal government, at least some states would be able to outlaw abortion or gay marriage without federal courts or federal laws trumping them and overturning laws their voters or legislature passed.

There is no way Santorum could ever win because he is incapable of courting the all important independent vote. Approximately 35 percent of the country is Republican, 35 percent is Democrat, and 30 percent is Independent. If a candidate can't pull more than their base, they have no chance of winning. I got these numbers from Rasmussen polling.

Posted by: Jeremy | February 20, 2012 8:48 PM


In what way does a conservative church have to accept no-fault divorces?


Posted by: Donna | February 20, 2012 11:04 PM


Because marriages are no longer sacraments in the church or exclusively the domain of the church. A couple must go through the state to obtain a marriage license. All 50 states allow no fault divorces now. I used to work in the court system and I have seen many times where a Christian did not want a divorce but could not stop the divorce because the person they were married to wanted a divorce, and didn't even need a good reason to obtain one. My point is, in the past, churches used to have authority in this realm. Now that authority has effectively been stripped by the secular government. At best, a church can just kick someone out of their congregation, but the person can just go across the street to another church. In this day and age, because of no fault divorce, churches have no authority to keep a marriage together. Also, no-fault divorce has made a mockery of marriage because people can get out of their contract for no reason at all. What other contracts can we get out of for no good reason? The contract doesn't carry any weight anymore. Now our country is allowing people to get out of their mortgage agreements without just cause, as well.

When conservatives start spending more time denouncing and trying to change our government's encouraging of no fault divorce and couples shacking up together, then I will believe they care about the sanctity of marriage. I have watched every debate and not one candidate has mentioned how our shack up culture and no fault divorces have done more to ruin marriage and the nuclear family than anything homosexuals have ever done.

Posted by: Jeremy | February 21, 2012 9:32 AM

Barbara, this is a well reasoned, well written and important post which I greatly appreciate. It is very important that careful examination, reasoning and distinctions are made as done above with the various 'liberty' sounding statements RP frequently makes. For most of America's history, homosexual acts, drug use and abortion were illegal (legislating moral behavior) and society was better for these morally righteous laws.

RP is also being historically inaccurate as to why radical Islamists are terrorizing us. He negates the commands in their Koran that command them to dominate other nations that don't submit. He blames our foreign policy, but Thomas Jefferson had to take out the Barbary Pirates when he was president because these muslims were capturing American ships. America was responding to muslim pirate aggression.

Great, great post, thanks again!

Posted by: Lily | February 21, 2012 9:47 AM

Au contaire, Jeremy. Rick Santorum has addressed the issue of cohabitation and divorce in his book - It Takes a Family: Conservatism and the Common Good -

While he may not have been asked specifically about that in the debates, time and time again he turned questions about economics back to the fact that our country's strength depends on the strength of the family and that our society needs to stop the destruction and begin building.

Posted by: Barbara | February 21, 2012 10:20 AM

Read more at Rick Santorum on Families and Children http://www.issues2000.org/2012/Rick_Santorum_Families_+_Children.htm

By contrast, read Ron Paul's paltry record at http://www.ontheissues.org/Ron_Paul.htm#Families_+_Children

The Christian Coalition rated Ron Paul 76% on pro-Family-Value voting record.

It rated Santorum 100%.

Check out more at http://www.ontheissues.org/default.htm

Posted by: Barbara | February 21, 2012 10:26 AM

I would like to encourage your readers to consider the thoughts of a noted Catholic apologist on the matter as a counter-weight, if you will, over the opinions of some writer in Orange County. Mark Shea has written much concerning the GOP candidates including both Rick Santorum and Ron Paul and on where they fall within the teaching of the Catholic Church in matters related to pro-life and liberty.

Posted by: Raul | February 22, 2012 9:45 AM

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