Tea Party Catholic
Tea Party Catholic

Tea Party Catholic

The Catholic Case for Limited Government, a Free Economy, and Human Flourishing

By Samuel Gregg, Foreword by Michael Novak


272 Pages, 5.25 x 8.25

Formats: Paperback, ebook: EPUB, Mobipocket

ebook: EPUB, $19.99 (US $19.99) (CA $20.99)

Publication Date: October 2013

ISBN 9780824520090


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"If you don't know Samuel Gregg's writings, you don't know one of the top two or three writers on the free society today."  —Michael Novak, bestselling author, Washington's God: Religion, Liberty, and the Father of Our Country

Over the past fifty years, increasing numbers of American Catholics have abandoned the economic positions associated with Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal and chosen to embrace the principles of economic freedom and limited government: ideals upheld by Ronald Reagan and the Tea Party movement but also deeply rooted in the American Founding. This shift, alongside America's growing polarization around economic questions, has generated fierce debates among Catholic Americans in recent years. Can a believing Catholic support free markets? Does the Catholic social justice commitment translate directly into big government? Do limited government Catholic Americans have something unique to contribute to the Church's thinking about the economic challenges confronting all Catholics around the globe?In Tea Party Catholic, Samuel Gregg draws upon Catholic teaching, natural law theory, and the thought of the only Catholic Signer of America's Declaration of Independence, Charles Carroll of Carrollton—the first "Tea Party Catholic"—to develop a Catholic case for the values and institutions associated with the free economy, limited government, and America's experiment in ordered liberty. Beginning with the nature of freedom and human flourishing, Gregg underscores the moral and economic benefits of business and markets as well as the welfare state's problems. Gregg then addresses several related issues that divide Catholics in America. These include the demands of social justice, the role of unions, immigration, poverty, and the relationship between secularism and big government.Above all, Gregg underlines how economic freedom's corrosion in America is undermining the United States' robust commitment to religious liberty—a principle integral not only to the American Founding and the life of Charles Carroll but also the teaching of the Second Vatican Council. As a creative minority, Gregg argues, limited government Catholics can help transform the wider movement to reground the United States upon the best insights of the American Experiment—and thereby save that Experiment itself.


"If you don't know Samuel Gregg's writings, you don't know one of the top two or three writers on the free society today." —Michael Novak, author, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism

"In Centesimus Annus, Blessed John Paul II called for a 'society of free work, enterprise and participation.' In Tea Party Catholic, Samuel Gregg has put flesh on the skeleton. His work will reignite interest in the critical notion of the common good. Furthermore, it will help educate upcoming generations about the richness, diversity, and necessity of Catholic social teaching. It is a remarkably good read!" —George Cardinal Pell, Archbishop of Sydney

"Samuel Gregg is the intellectual leader of the second generation of Catholic proponents of limited government, religious liberty, and economic freedom. Gregg's book has things to say to all Catholic Americans, regardless of party allegiance . . . but also to Catholics living outside America." —Michael Novak, author of The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism and Washington's God

"There is abroad in the land a mistaken belief that Catholic social teaching is friendly to the entitlement society and hostile to limited government, the market economy, and economic freedom. A refutation of this error is long overdue, and now at last Samuel Gregg has provided it. The book is as carefully and, indeed, rigorously argued as it is provocatively titled. It is a great resource for anyone—Catholic or not—who wants to know what the Church really teaches about the moral requirements of the socio-economic and political orders." —Prof. Robert P. George, Princeton University

"A stimulating reading of Catholic social teaching and the American Founding and its application to some of today's most sharply contested public policy issues, particularly those touching on economic and religious freedom. Give it to your favorite Commonweal reader and let the debate begin!" —George Weigel, papal biographer and author of Evangelical Catholicism

"Rarely is a book as timely as this one. Some might say that Samuel Gregg has gone a long way toward reconciling the ideal of liberty, especially its economic and religious dimensions, expressed in the American Founding, with the Catholic faith. Actually, he has masterfully demonstrated the complementary and perhaps even Providential nature of this relationship. Gregg's clarity and scholarship are impressive and incisive." —Frank Hanna III, businessman, philanthropist, and author of What Your Money Means

Author Biography

Samuel Gregg is research director at the Acton Institute. He is the author of many books, including his prize-winning The Commercial Society (2007), The Modern Papacy (2009), and Becoming Europe (2013). He lectures regularly in America and Europe on topics encompassing political economy, Catholicism, and morality and the economy. His writing has appeared in academic journals and magazines including National Review, The American Spectator, Foreign Affairs, and Crisis Magazine, as well as newspapers such as the Wall Street Journal, Investors Business Daily, and the New York Post.