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Catholic Social Science Review

Volume 24, 2019

Thomas F. X. Varacalli
Pages 11-18

In Defense of Catholic Fusionism

Patrick Deneen’s criticisms of liberalism are both penetrating and persuasive. Yet, Deneen does not adequately address liberalism’s strongest arguments. Deneen’s concept of “liberalism” is problematic because it minimizes the significant distinctions between classical liberalism and progressivism. Certain principles of classical liberalism, such as the free market and an increased awareness of human beings as rights-bearing individuals, are compatible with the Catholic faith. Progressivism, on the other hand, is not. Progressivism’s moral failings are far worse than those associated with classical liberalism. Although classical liberalism is itself flawed, it remains viable to the extent that it may be integrated with core Christian teachings.

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