Catholic Social Teaching informs us that of the economic systems currently available, free market economies have the best potential for promoting human development. Catholic Social Teaching says the free market economy:

"is a source of wealth in today's society" (CA, 32)


"This process, which throws practical light on a truth about the person which Christianity has constantly affirmed, should be viewed carefully and favourably." (CA, 32)

However, John XXIII was emphatic that

"...all forms of economic enterprise must be governed by the principles of social justice and charity."(MEM, 39)

and furthermore,

"Economic progress must be accompanied by a corresponding social progress, so that all classes of citizens can participate in the increased productivity. The utmost vigilance and effort is needed to ensure that social inequalities, so far from increasing, are reduced to a minimum."(MEM, 79)

In response to the tumultuous state of Europe's powers during his pontificate, Pope Pius XI warned of the dangers of surrendering the morality, human dignity, and the powers of the State to an unbridled free economy, that acts only for the sake of advancing itself, and those few - nations or individuals - that profit from it:

"The ultimate consequences of the individualist spirit in economic life are those which you yourselves... see and deplore: Free competition has destroyed itself; economic dictatorship has supplanted the free market; unbridled ambition for power has likewise succeeded greed for gain; all economic life has become tragically hard, inexorable, and cruel. To these are to be added the grave evils that have resulted from an intermingling and shameful confusion of the functions and duties of public authority with those of the economic sphere - such as, one of the worst, the virtual degradation of the majesty of the State, which although it ought to sit on high... free from all partiality and intent upon the one common good and justice, is become a slave, surrendered and delivered to the passions and greed of men. And as to international relations, two different streams have issued from the one fountain-head: On the one hand, economic nationalism or even economic imperialism; on the other, a no less deadly and accursed internationalism of finance or international imperialism whose country is where profit is." (QA, 109)

Why Does the Church support “Free Markets”?

ANSWER Answer_arrow

Does the Church “recommend” any Economic System for the Developing World?

ANSWER Answer_arrow

Is the Church’s Support of a Free Economy unequivocal?

ANSWER Answer_arrow

Are the ‘problems’ we experience the fault of the Free Market system?

ANSWER Answer_arrow

What does the Church say about "Human Development”?

ANSWER Answer_arrow

So, what is the “Bottom Line” of CST regarding the Economy? (It’s way more than about Economics)

ANSWER Answer_arrow

What are the responsibilities of the State regarding the Economy?

ANSWER Answer_arrow

Latest Episode

Sign up for news, courses and events tailored to your interests. Watch Online

Voice your Opinion!
Send us a note!
Network & Learn
Just a Thought
Consumerism arises from a misunderstanding about the meaning of life and the real source of human happiness: consumerism is the mistaken idea that the consumption of things and experiences leads to happiness. It is an addiction to buying things, to spending money, as a solution to the lack of happiness and peace in one’s life, in one’s family. Read more