But to deny the moral dimension of government is to suggest that there are realms of human life exempt, somehow, from moral judgment, and this is emphatically contrary to the Christian vision. A hammer may be a piece of technology, but there’s a decided moral distinction between using it to nail down a beam and using it to bash in a skull. Likewise, the state may be a tool, but the way it shapes property distribution — to either care for the poor, ill, and those in need or to ignore them — is absolutely subject to moral inquiry.

This is the point Cardinal Maradiaga made, and it has been a powerful theme in Pope Francis’ ministry as well. There may very well be particular inflections or applications of libertarian thought that are consonant with Catholic social teaching, but they must account for these foundational truths.