Pope Francis: Enemy of Capitalism or just echoing 2,000 years of Christianity?

Haters gonna hate.
Haters gonna hate.

In full disclosure, I’m one of those Rad-Trad Latin-Mass-only Catholics. I’m also not exactly a big fan of the pontificate of Pope Francis.

Those of my ilk are exactly what Bishop Limpwrist, Father Socialjustice and Sister Mary Polyester warned you about.

I absolutely refuse to attend the Clown Mass, the Puppet Mass or any of those other post-Vatican II liturgical circle-jerks that disregard vertical worship in favor of the Barney-esque I love you, you love me  horizontal worship.

But I will defend Pope Francis, at least against the accusations of him being some kind of wild eyed socialist that would make Comrade Barry look like a laissez faire capitalist.

Just one example is from the Business Insider‘s recent (sensational and somewhat breathless) headline: “The Pope Just Published One Of The Most Powerful Critiques Of Modern Capitalism That You Will Ever Read”

Friends, what Pope Francis gave was one of the most powerful critiques of soulless and godless capitalism you will ever read.

And for the unfamiliar, there really is a hierarchy of papal pronouncements.

Regarding what’s causing all the latest kerfuffle:

  • It’s NOT a Papal Encyclical, which is a authoritative in nature and used to resolve certain issues concerning matters of doctrine, morality, devotion, or discipline.
  • It’s NOT an Apostolic Letter, which is a teaching documents that provide counsel on points of doctrine that require deeper explanation.
  • It IS merely an Apostolic Exhortation titled ‘Evangelii Gaudium‘ (The Joy of the Gospels) which asks Catholics to prayerfully consider certain topics.

What many (including most Catholics) don’t seem to understand is that we Mackerel Snappers are free to wholly accept, partially accept or even wholly reject the Papal exhortation in question.

To put it plainly, there simply is no stain of sin on my immortal soul if, after prayerful consideration, I disagree with the pope’s exhortation to the matter at hand.

And Away We Go…

Thankfully, the Reuters news service has publish certain quotes, sans editorialization, on some of key passages from  Evangelii Gaudium that has more than a few alleged experts deep in the throes of hysterics.

1. The accusation that Pope Francis is advocating socialized medicine.

“It is vital that government leaders and financial leaders take heed and broaden their horizons, working to ensure that all citizens have dignified work, education and

healthcare.”

Gee, that sounds an awful lot like America. I seem to recall America’s health care system, however imperfect, ensures that everyone received medical treatment. No one was turned away. Could the same be said of… oh, let’s say China, the former Soviet Union or Cuba ?

2a. The accusations that Pope Francis is calling for redistribution of wealth.

 “Just as the commandment ‘Thou shalt not kill’ sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say ‘thou shalt not’ to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills.”

Economies of exclusion and inequality? Communism and socialism come to mind. So does godless capitalism that doesn’t care if you lie, cheat or steal to get a promotion.

2b. Another example of the charge that the Pope is calling for redistribution.

“A new tyranny is thus born, invisible and often virtual, which unilaterally and relentlessly imposes its own laws and rules … In this system, which tends to devour everything which stands in the way of increased profits, whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenseless before the interests of a deified market, which become the only rule.”

Did he just use the words “deified market”? Yep, he sure did. In other words, the worship of money is sinful. That’s not exactly a new notion.

Doesn’t anyone remember from Sacred Writ something written about the love of money?

2c. Lastly, the charge that the Pope attacked “unfettered capitalism.”

First of all, nowhere in all of Evangelii Gaudium is the phrase “unfettered capitalism” used. That particular choice of words was used by the hard leftie rag The Guardian of London.

While I’m at it, what exactly does “unfettered” mean? I’ll tell you what it means:

“Release from restraint or inhibition.”

Who of us ISN’T against unfettered capitalism? There’s nothing wrong with making an honest profit, but there is something wrong with making a profit while stabbing people in the back. Again, not exactly something new.

In fact, one of the sins that cries to heaven for vengeance is denying the laborer of his just wages.

3. The charge that the Pope is against the Trickle-Down economic theory.

In this context, some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system.

Yep, he’s against it. My response, “Your Holiness, I disagree with you. I think you’re wrong.”

What? No bolt of lightning smiting my heretical self? Oh, that’s right… I can faithfully disagree with an Apostolic Exhortation.

In Closing… 

Love, hate or indifferent to either Pope Francis or Catholicism in general, he simply didn’t attack capitalism, period.

3 thoughts on “Pope Francis: Enemy of Capitalism or just echoing 2,000 years of Christianity?

  1. Thanks for a common sense look. Some seem to want to grab at Pope Frances words and throw them at the perceived other side in a victorious Ah Ha! Christianity is sharing what you have from your heart. Not accumulating all that you can. Others are biting on the Pope’s words and spitting them out in disgust before they chew on them. Knee jerk reactions from inside and outside the church only cause confusion and rub raw emotions.

  2. Although I do agree with almost everything in this article, I have to say I take sides with His Holiness on the Trickle-Down economic theory. And it’s not because he is the pope. It is perfectly evident that facts have confirmed and do confirm on an every day basis that free market lacks any sensibility towards the deep human, spiritual, immaterial necessities. Actually, I would rephrase His Holiness opinion, if I may:
    “History has demonstrated, throughout centuries of well documented facts, the absolute lack of goodness or evil of those wielding economic power. The sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system does not care for individuals, just as communism, as long as they are useful not clogs of the market’s devouring machinery”.

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