08 December, 2017

A New Book From ... Fulton Sheen!


Publishing is often a pain and a drain, but it is not without a few pleasures. When I started ACS Books as an arm of the American Chesterton Society, it was fun to bring some titles into print that did not fall into any known category, which meant that nobody else was likely to publish them anyway. In general, writers are creative; publishers are not. Being a writer myself, I probably don’t think enough like a publisher. Which is why my publishing arm is part of a non-profit organization. And so I have had the privilege of publishing the firstever biography of Frances (Mrs. Gilbert) Chesterton, an annotated version of Hilaire Belloc’s oddball masterpiece TheFour Men (with notes provided by Deacon Nathan Allen, who along with three others, recreated Belloc’s famous fictional-factional walk across Sussex), a creative and unexpected explanation of the Catholic faith under the cover of TheCatechism of Hockey, and a hilarious piece of crime fiction called GetLouie Stigs about a low-level mob figure who gets convicted of fraud and sentenced to … a monastery. You should read them all.

21 November, 2017

An Economics of Justice & Charity

The Church has always concerned itself with issues of justice in society, and popes have taught extensively on the topic since the late 1800s. Unfortunately, many Catholics in our day are not aware of this teaching, or only consider it in regard to things like helping the poor. Helping the poor is a very important aspect of it, but the scope of the Church’s teaching on matters of social justice go much further. Any aspect of social life which involves questions of ethics or morality fall within the scope of this teaching. Thomas Storck’s new book, An Economics of Justice & Charity, is a guide that shows how the Church’s teaching is very clear, has never changed, and definitely applies to areas of social life like economics.

16 November, 2017

Self-sufficiency and economic freedom

Hilaire Belloc’s Essay on the Restoration of Property is a remarkably well-written book.  Put aside the question of whether Belloc is right or wrong about any of his contentions: the book is thoroughly lucid.  It’s also organic—you really can’t dip into it at random, you need to get ahold of the ideas as a whole.  This feature of the book, I think, leads to confusion among critics.  Well, there’s also the fact that despite its lucidity, the book covers far more territory than it could exhaustively treat, so there are some ideas that aren’t fully fleshed out.  One of those ideas, at least in my experience, is economic freedom.  It’s one of the central notions of the book, and one of the most fundamental principles upon which Distributism stands, and I’ve had a difficult time coming to grips with it. 

It seems to me others have, too, including some prominent opponents of Distributism.  In particular, there seems to be a tendency to conflate economic freedom and self-sufficience.  This has serious consequences.