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Catholic Herald Runs Rave

Review for Ferrara Book

Author POSTED: Tuesday, March 03, 2009

 ( England’s largest Catholic newspaper, The Catholic Herald, has run a glowing review by Piers Shepherd of Christopher Ferrara’s The Church and the Libertarian, a defense of the Catholic teaching on man, economy and state against a movement of radical libertarians attempting to advance the ideas of Ludwig von Mises and Murray Rothbard among Catholics.

The above-the-fold, four-column, banner-headlined review in the July 15, 2011 issue of The Herald, read throughout the United Kingdom, praises the book as “a spirited and well-researched work in defence of the traditional social teaching of the Church,” “a fine exposition of Catholic social teaching... a convincing refutation of the libertarian position,” with “politically incorrect gems” that are “a joy to read.”

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"And yet there were Catholic academics who endorsed this book.  This is beyond laughable.  To lend support to a crude, propagandistic, uninformed, uncharitable, confused jumble of vitriol and straw men, and ignorantly describing such a book as a devastating takedown of a venerable tradition of thought these academics do not know the first thing about, is a grotesque betrayal of the very mission of the university."


Senior Scholar, Von Mises Institute


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The review, entitled “The radical economists who scorned Christianity,” accurately presents the substance of the book, including its diagnosis of the principles of the “Austro-libertarian movement” at odds with Catholic teaching and its positive case for application of Catholic social teaching “to the circumstances of the modern United States,” leading to “reduction or abolition of income and inheritance taxes, an enhanced role for private bodies and the legal protection of the moral order and religion.”

Reached by the Remnant, author Ferrara commented that “I am gratified by such a favorable review in England’s Catholic newspaper of record. The Catholic Church has always been the true libertarian movement in this fallen world. We have no need of Rothbard’s ridiculous ‘ethics of liberty’ or Von Mises’s silly ‘praxeology’ and his vile attacks on Christ and the Gospel as the roots of socialism. Yet the goofy cult dedicated to their ‘legacy’—the cult seriously defends Scrooge, as I show in the book!—has gained considerable traction among confused Catholics who, quite understandably, are looking for answers in our troubled times.  Only the Church has those answers.”

In response to The Herald’s positive review, Thomas Woods, a leading Catholic follower of Murray Rothbard and a “Senior Scholar” at the Von Mises Institute, sent a letter to the editor on August 5, claiming that Ferrara and other critics of the thought Mises and Rothbard “have no idea what they are talking about.” Ferrara answered in his own letter that Woods “offer[s] the same exhausted reply he has been repeating endlessly in response to the growing ranks of his Catholic critics in the States... we are all ignoramuses and writers of nonsense.  Woods has even denounced en bloc as ‘doltish’ all the favorable reviewers of my book. That is the level of discourse on which he has been operating since the Catholic opposition to his position began to form some nine years ago, long before I joined the fray.”

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