Pro-Capitalist Pope Francis: Marxism is Wrong. Elite Have too Much Power. Part IV Evangelii Gaudium.

Pope Francis is a champion of capitalism and decries socialism!

Pope Francis is a champion of capitalism and decries socialism!

For Late Comers.  Here is  ( Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3) .

Pope Francis confirmed conclusions offered here on the Sun Beam Times (Pt I, II and III) that his recent Apostolic Exhortation (A.E.) “The Joy of the Gospel” was not an “anti-capitalist” pronouncement as so many collectivists[i] hoped and so many individualists[i]  feared.  The Joy of the Gospel, instead, was a call for Catholics to evangelize on the Gospel and the good news that God sent his only son so that he may redeem our sins and bring us into His Kingdom.  Pope Francis’s A.E. offered some commentary on the context in which Catholics are called to evangelize, including poverty.  Those who are aware of the economic corruption dominating the world today would recognize that his commentary pointed to the arrogant elite leaders in global banking, the Federal Reserve, progressives, socialists, big government advocates and crony “capitalists” who would use the system for their own financial and political gain.  That means that Pope Francis is pointing to President Barack Obama, Ben Bernanke, G.E.’s Jeffrey Immelt, SEIU’s Andy Stern and thousands of others who are claiming to stand up for the “common good” while actually hurting the common good and spreading social injustice.

Pope Francis was interviewed in Italy’s “La Stampa”[ii] newspaper regarding, among other things, the controversy generated by “The Joy of the Gospel”.  In it, he made clear that he is merely pointing to the Church’s Social doctrine, which can be viewed only within the context of the entire Doctrine of the Catholic Church. That Doctrine, expressed in the Catechism, specifically rejects collectivism and socialism by name.  It recognizes that the all of society is ordered to the individual and that the individual is not created to serve society.  Catholic Doctrine points to the concept of “subsidiarity” (part III) and thus states no society should seek to supplant the rightful functions of an individual or a small group such as a family.  In short, Catholic Doctrine absolutely rejects all big government, central economic planning, elite groups at the top and anything that violates the individual dignity of human beings.  That is why the Pope offered in that interview “I am no Marxist”.  The Pope pointed to Catholic social doctrine for the context of his comments on the free market.  So here is what the Catholic social doctrine says about “TRUE” Free Market, or what it calls “Free Economies”.

Catholic Doctrine on TRUE Free Markets, Cronyism & Socialism

335.   In   the perspective of an integral and solidary development, it is possible to   arrive at a proper appreciation of   the moral evaluation that the Church’s social doctrine offers in regard to the market economy or, more simply, of the free economy:….”

True Free Markets
“Free   Economies”

False “Free” Markets

“…“If by ‘capitalism’ is meant an economic system which recognizes the fundamental and positive role of business, the market, private property and the resulting  responsibility for the means of production, as well as free human creativity in the economic sector, then the answer is certainly in the affirmative, even though it would perhaps be more appropriate to speak of a ‘business economy’, ‘market economy’ or simply ‘free economy’.” §335 Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church.

“….But   if by ‘capitalism’ is meant a system in which freedom in the economic sector   is not circumscribed within a strong juridical framework which places it at the service of human freedom in its totality, and which sees it as a particular aspect of that freedom, the core of which is ethical and religious, then the reply is certainly negative”.[701] In this way a Christian perspective is defined regarding social and political conditions of economic activity, not only its rules but also its moral quality and its   meaning. §335 Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church.

Socialism: Rejected by Catholic Church

Rerum Novarum  lists errors that give rise to social ills, excludes socialism as a remedy and expounds with precision and in contemporary terms “the Catholic doctrine on work, the right to property, the principle of   collaboration instead of class struggle as the fundamental means for social   change, the rights of the weak, the dignity of the poor and the obligations   of the rich, the perfecting of justice through charity, on the right to form professional associations” §89 Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church.

The Church has rejected the totalitarian and atheistic ideologies associated in modem times with  “communism” or  “socialism”.”  §2425 Catechism of the Catholic Church.

The Catholic Church, and the Pope, are thus pointing out that many abuse the market for their own ends. Such is the case of Solyndra receiving government funds ostensibly to work for the common good of preserving the environment.   We also see G.E. and Jeffrey Immelt engaging in crony capitalism – benefitting personally off the labor of American taxpayers to secure more wealth and power to him and his elite circle.  When the Federal Reserve seeks to cause inflation by printing more currency than is appropriate in an economy, they are masquerading as proponents of capitalism while merely providing the fuel that pumps up the stock market and enriches the global banking elite.  This inflation harms the poor and middle class who then have a dollar that buys fewer basic goods they need to thrive and grow as individuals.  When Union Bosses carve out special deals for themselves on Obamacare, they are harming those without the political clout that is required to avoid oppression by an out of control government. The elite benefit while everyone else suffers. This is a vast injustice.

Thus Pope Francis offers concerns about the “Free Market” and “Trickle Down” economics as follows:

“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.” §54 Evangelii Gaudium

It is clear that the Pope is referring to the “Free Market” that is the rejected version of this label, namely the a “...system in which freedom in the economic sector is not circumscribed within a  strong juridical framework which places it at the service of human freedom in  its totality, and which sees it as a particular aspect of that freedom, the core  of which is ethical and religious….”.  The Pope does make one error (he is not infallible on anything other than teachings on Faith and Morality). He referred to “Trickle Down” economics, which is merely a derogatory term invented by collectivists as propaganda to attack Ronal Reagan’s use of Supply Side economics. As history has proven, those TRUE market practices created a massive outburst of prosperity in the 1980’s. Furthermore, one Catholic Priest has pointed out that the word “inevitably” was mistranslated from the Pope’s native Spanish “por si mismo” which means “by itself”.  So the Pope was referring to the inability of market based economies to bring greater inclusiveness and justice “by itself”, not as a sole source.

What is even clearer is that the Pope has pointed out in no uncertain terms that his comments should ONLY be within the context of the overall doctrine of the Catholic Church (Pt I).  Catholic doctrine is clear that it not the role of government to directly provide for the needs of its citizens. Rather it is for the government to provide the juridical security to ensure that a true market economy can function and that individuals can enjoy “the fruits of their labors”. The Church emphatically states that it is NOT the primary responsibility of the state to oversee human rights in the economic sector. That responsibility falls to individuals and associations.

2431   The responsibility of the state.”Economic activity, especially the activity of a market economy, cannot be conducted in an institutional, juridical, or political vacuum. On the contrary, it presupposes sure guarantees of individual freedom and private property, as well as a stable currency and efficient public services. Hence the principal task of the state is to guarantee this security, so that those who work and produce can   enjoy the fruits of their labors and thus feel encouraged to work efficiently and honestly. . . . Another task of the state is that of overseeing   and directing the exercise of human rights in the economic sector. However,   primary responsibility in this area belongs not to the state but to   individuals and to the various groups and associations which make up   society.”217 2431 Catechism of the Catholic Church.

So to be clear, Pope Francis is attacking the practices of an elite who sit atop an unnatural economic system. That is a system in which the elite set the rules, debauch our currency, and invent wealth redistribution programs ostensibly to serve the poor, but that really serve politicians and the rich. The Pope rightfully points to an economy of “Exclusion” and “inequality”. Such economic problems are present in the one created by global bankers and politicians cause massive economic bubbles in the housing markets that then burst and cause major economic exclusion and inequality which cause massive economic crashes and displace people from their homes or cause them to lose life savings. Obamacare is another example of exclusion and inequality created by President Obama and progressives who lie about helping the common good. However Obamacare causes injustice by forcing millions off lower costs health insurance they value and forcing them to buy high priced insurance that offers worse coverage, actively rations their care and withdraws medical care from the frail. The functions of a true market and the support of the Catholich Chuch for it is well described by Catholic scholar Thomas Woods in his work “The Church and the Market”.

The Pope was exalted for quoting St. John Chrysostem by stating “Not to share one’s wealth with the poor is to steal from them and to take away their livelihood. It is not our own goods which we hold, but theirs” (§57, Evangelii Gaudium).  The Pope was referring solely to VOLUNTARY charity, something not present in forced wealth redistribution. St. John Chrysostem was one of the first Bishops of Constantinople in 398 a.d. during the emergence of the Byzantine empire out of the waning Eastern Roman Empire. St. John Chrysostem was living in a society characterized by a morally depraved wealthy class who were not sharing their good fortunes. They were the elite, the monarchs and their friends. There was excessive taxation and outright property theft by the elite and royalty from the middle class property owners. St. John Chrystotem was calling them out and eventually run out of his office in a conspiracy for standing up to the morally decadent society. What is telling though is that St. John Chrysostem spoke forcefully AGAINST wealth redistribution!

Should we look to kings and princes to put right the inequalities between rich and poor? Should we require soldiers to come and seize the rich person’s gold and distribute it among his destitute neighbors?  Should we beg the emperor to impose a tax on the rich so great that it reduces them to the level of the poor and then to share the proceeds of that tax among everyone?

Equality imposed by force would achieve nothing, and do much harm. Those who combined both cruel hearts and sharp minds would soon find ways of making themselves rich again. Worse still, the rich whose gold was taken away would feel bitter and resentful; while the poor who received the gold form the hands of soldiers would feel no gratitude, because no generosity would have prompted the gift. Far from bringing moral benefit to society, it would actually do moral harm. Material justice cannot be accomplished by compulsion, a change of heart will not follow. The only way to achieve true justice is to change people’s hearts first – and then they will joyfully share their wealth.”  On Living Simply”, St. John Chrysostem.

 In today’s fast paced, superficial society of sound bites, it is difficult to see the true meaning of a person or a religious leader like Pope Francis.  The Pope cautioned that his words would be distorted and taken out of context. It is easy to understand how many collectivists would like to add the Pope’s words on free markets to their anti-capitalist narrative. It is easy to understand how individualists may want to attack the Pope for this as well, especially since a strong liberal and distorted view of “Social Justice” exists within the Pastoral leadership of the Catholic Church, especially in America. However, a true and deep reading of Catholic Doctrine reveals that the Pope is not referring to the TRUE free market (or a “free economy” or “market economy” as named by the Catholic Social Doctrine”). Such things are rare in our society today. Rather the Pope is referring to the crony capitalism that dominates the world today and is composed of a global elite that is harming the common good and individuals for their own benefit. 

In the end the Pope’s message was about salvation and evangelizing on that. It was about asking Catholics and all faithful to build a more just society that truly moves toward the common good.  The common good, another misunderstood term by collectivists and individualists alike, is discussed in detail here. Briefly the common good is one means in which society becomes better and allows men and women to achieve eternal life in God’s Kingdom.  The Common good is “the sum total of social conditions which allow people, either as groups or as individuals, to reach their fulfillment more fully and more easily” (§1904, Catechism). Social Justice is linked to the common good and the legitimate exercise of authority and can ONLY be occur by placing the individual above society: “Social justice can be obtained only in respecting the transcendent dignity of man. The person represents the ultimate end of society, which is ordered to him…” (§1929,Catechism).

Society, markets, governments and all human activity is ordered to the dignity and primacy of the individual and their rights. Modern large government structures cannot and do not respect that individual dignity. The original constitutional government of America did (after the abolition of slavery). True free markets do. Those who want to claim the Pope is anti-capitalist should think again and realize that his comments and the entire doctrine of the Catholic Church is the most powerful pro-capitalist annunciation available in modern society today. 


i. Collectivists refers to those who believe society is best ordered when all individuals sderve the interests of the state.  Collectivists place and elite group on top often dominated by the greedy who use the power of the state for their own end. They are characterized by modern “leftists”, Republicans in Name Only (RINO’s),  Keynesian Economists, liberals, progressives, fascists, socialists and crony capitalists. individualists are characterized by a shrinking part of society. They include proponents of TRUE free market, some “conservatives”, libertarians, Austrian economists and any individual who wishes to live free.

Q: Some of the passages in the “Evangelii Gaudium” attracted the criticism of ultraconservatives in the USA. As a Pope, what does it feel like to be called a “Marxist”?”

 A: “The Marxist ideology is wrong. But I have met many Marxists in my life who are good people, so I don’t feel offended.”

 Q: “The most striking part of the Exhortation was where it refers to an economy that “kills”…”

 A: “There is nothing in the Exhortation that cannot be found in the social Doctrine of the Church. I wasn’t speaking from a technical point of view, what I was trying to do was to give a picture of what is going on. The only specific quote I used was the one regarding the “trickle-down theories” which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and social inclusiveness in the world. The promise was that when the glass was full, it would overflow, benefitting the poor. But what happens instead, is that when the glass is full, it magically gets bigger nothing ever comes out for the poor. This was the only reference to a specific theory. I was not, I repeat, speaking from a technical point of view but according to the Church’s social doctrine. This does not mean being a Marxist.” Pope Francis in La Stampa, 12/14/2013



2 Replies:

  1. Linden Vauiso

    Dear Dr, McKalip,
    This commentary is excellent. I did not read entirely all but will finish later. I would be more than happy to forward any of your email that you want spread far and wide. God bless you for all that you do for Him!
    Linden Prann Vauiso

  2. Pingback: Pope Francis on the Worship of Money | Greg Scandlen's American Awakening

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