The dean of the Catholic University of America’s School of Business and Economics recently approached me with an idea: A research and educational program focused on the compatibility of capitalism and Catholicism. On Thursday the university announced a $3 million grant to fund this vision.
It makes perfect sense that CUA would want to teach this topic to business leaders. Free markets have liberated more people from poverty than any other force in history. But they must also be buttressed by moral principles, such as those taught in the Catholic Church.
The notion of such compatibility is troubling for some. In 2013, the Charles Koch Foundation pledged grants at CUA’s request for similar studies exploring principled entrepreneurship, which prompted condemnation from a number of Catholic “social justice” groups. Catholic “activists” sent the university a letter alleging that free-market positions “are in direct conflict with traditional Catholic values.”