Trent Horn: Can a Catholic be a Socialist?

Catholic Answers apologist Trent Horn explores the nexus of Catholic social teaching and libertarianism.


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Can a Catholic be a socialist? Can a libertarian be a Catholic? Just asking questions. 

Today's guest, Trent Horn, is an apologist and speaker for Catholic Answers and a defender of capitalism. He hosts The Counsel of Trent podcast and has authored several books on Catholicism, including Can a Catholic Be a Socialist? In this episode, we discuss the themes of that book, respond to some of the anti-capitalist rhetoric that has come from the Vatican over the past decade, analyze the rise of "post-liberal" Catholics on the right, and question whether religion is becoming more palatable to the modern person.

Watch the full conversation on Reason's YouTube channel or the Just Asking Questions podcast feed on AppleSpotify, or your preferred podcatcher.

Sources referenced in the conversation:

  1. Can A Catholic Be a Socialist? The Answer is No—Here's Why
  2. Evangelii Gaudium: Apostolic Exhortation on the Proclamation of the Gospel in Today's World (24 November 2013) by Pope Francis
  3. Pope Francis' 2017 TED Talk: "Why the Only Future Worth Building Includes Everyone"
  4. Against David French-ism by Sohrab Ahmari
  5. Motte-and-bailey fallacy
  6. Zach and Liz's Interview with Johan Norberg
  7. Jordan Peterson on the Power of the Easter Message


  • 00:00 Opening Monologue
  • 01:25 Can a Catholic Defend Capitalism?
  • 03:30 Pope Francis and Capitalism
  • 05:21 Historical Criticisms of Socialism
  • 07:06 The Tension Between Employers and Workers
  • 09:38 Catholic Teachings on Economics
  • 29:35 Libertarianism and Catholicism: A Natural Overlap?
  • 41:50 The Role of Natural Law in Catholic Thought
  • 43:49 Understanding Catholic Definitions of Law
  • 44:06 Natural Law and Moral Commands
  • 45:42 Human Laws and Justice
  • 48:28 Catholicism and Science
  • 50:35 Liberty and the Good Life
  • 52:46 Debating Legalization of Prostitution
  • 54:49 Libertarianism and Consumerism
  • 01:01:39 Catholic Politics and State Intervention
  • 01:13:21 Jordan Peterson on Catholicism
  • 01:19:31 Final Thoughts: Who are you supposed to be?