Pope says the same old thing, everybody freaks out.
The older I become, the more I realize when the pope says the same old news, everyone thinks it’s new. This article is about the popes’ new encyclical, in which he criticises capitalism for ignoring the needs of people. For quite obvious historical reasons, this issue is dear to the pope. After all, he came from Argentina, which recently suffered a major economic depression after the liberalization of economic policies. The Catholic understanding of Capitalism complements Pope Francis’ own experiences. Our catechism (from the 1997 Latin revision) states, “A theory that makes profit the exclusive norm and ultimate end of economic activity is morally unacceptable. The disordered desire for money cannot but produce perverse effects” (Paragraph 2424). The pope is making a claim the Catholic Church has widely publicised for a long time — the free market doesn’t work to provide social justice.
Does the Pope then support wealth redistribution through communism? Hardly. Our catechism teaches “Regulating the economy soley by centralized planning perverts the basis of social bonds; regulating it solely by the law of the marketplace fails social justice… Reasonable regulation of the marketplace and economic initiatives, in keeping with a just hierarchy of values and a view to the common good, is to be commended” (Paragraph 2425). Within this context, the pope writes, “The Pope loves everyone, rich and poor alike, but he is obliged in the name of Christ to remind all that the rich must help, respect and promote the poor. I exhort you to generous solidarity and to the return of economics and finance to an ethical approach which favours human beings.” The redistribution the pope argues for is one of just wages and opportunity, given by the rich to those who are less well off. This could be by the wealthy influencing Congress to make just laws, or on a more personal path like Harris Rosen, and what he did at Tangelo Park.