Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation, Free Markets, and Social Justice

Give freedom a chance

In the Evangelii Gaudium (pdf), the first apostolic exhortation of his papacy, Pope Francis focused on the church’s mission of evangelization, urging clergy and the laity to “recover the original freshness of the Gospel.” In the new pope’s missionary church, the “doors should always be open,” he wrote. The 84-page document spanned Catholic topics from social justice to interfaith dialogue, but Francis’ comments and critcisms of the free market, hardly new ground for him or for the Catholic Church, opened the door for supporters of aggressive market intervention by government to claim the pope as their own—yet free markets provide the very environment in which the pope's professed goals would be easiest to pursue.

“There's a lot of stuff about Jesus in his thinking that I can't really sign on to,” wrote Slate’s Matthew Yglesias as he highlighted several comments in the exhortation that focused on the “tyranny” of unfettered capitalism. For example, in one passage pulled by Yglesias, the pope hit on a favorite hobby horse of the left, income inequality: "While the earnings of a minority are growing exponentially, so too is the gap separating the majority from the prosperity enjoyed by those happy few. This imbalance is the result of ideologies which defend the absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial speculation. Consequently, they reject the right of states, charged with vigilance for the common good, to exercise any form of control. A new tyranny is thus born, invisible and often virtual, which unilaterally and relentlessly imposes its own laws and rules."

But Yglesias skips the next sentence, even though he picks up another passage just  a couple of sentences later. That comment? “Debt and the accumulation of interest also make it difficult for countries to realize the potential of their own economies and keep citizens from enjoying their purchasing power."

Opponents of the United States’ ballooning debt, which included Barack Obama before he became president, often frame their opposition as a moral issue: Governments shouldn’t borrow from future generations to spend on current ones. That intergenerational injustice is often covered here at Reason. Yet it would be silly to argue that therefore the pope would oppose, say, raising the debt limit. Like caring for the poor, however, spending within your means is a Christian value, too, as is not stealing or coveting your neighbor’s things.

Nevertheless, even if every passage related to economics is used to co-opt the pope’s message to the billion-plus members of his church for an advantage in temporal politics, it would be inadequate and inaccurate. The “stuff about Jesus” should come as no surprise, as it is fundamental to the pope’s thinking. When exhorting government and financial leaders to work “to ensure that all citizens have dignified work, education and healthcare,” the pope asks, “Why not turn to God and ask him to inspire their plans?” In his apostolic exhortation, Pope Francis writes that politics, “though often denigrated, remains a lofty vocation and one of the highest forms of charity, insomuch as it seeks the common good,” choosing to describe politics charitably.  At one point, while discussing the Christian concept of solidarity in pushing for social change, the pope writes that “[c]hanging structures without generating new convictions and attitudes will only ensure that those same structures will become, sooner or later, corrupt, oppressive and ineffectual.” Yet it’d be easier to get a camel through the eye of a needle than to create a political class of selfless actors interested in people’s well-being and not their own enrichment.

Last week, Reason’s Matt Welch called the pope’s comments on economics  “embarrassing in their wrongness,” as the evidence shows free markets lifting a record-breaking number of people out of poverty in the last century. The pope’s omission and obliviousness to those facts on the ground, Welch wrote, advertised his own ignorance. Welch concluded that the pope was “not primarily interested in spreading truth, but rather in exciting popular passions.” And, indeed, Pope Francis’ exhortation was meant to excite at least the passion of Catholics, to whom it was addressed.  As such, his economic naiveté is born of optimism.

Dignified work, education, and healthcare are things any good Christian ought to help others gain access to; social justice, like family values before it, meant something in a religious context before being politicized, respectively, by the partisan left and the right. And the pope is right that individual acts of charity are not enough (he also said welfare ought to be a temporary measure, but don’t tell the liberals); structures that improve access to work, education, and healthcare do far more. But the faith in government and political leaders is misplaced.

For example, in the United States, politicians pushing the Affordable Care Act claimed the legislation was a solution to a moral problem, lack of access to healthcare. Yet the legislation didn’t deal with increasing access to healthcare, but on imposing controls on the market for insurance and on healthcare. While hundreds of thousands of Americans have learned they’re losing their insurance plans in the last few months, the Catholic Church learned what Obamacare had in store for it far earlier—the so-called contraceptive mandate is far from what the Church would consider “dignified,” and is being challenged in court on religious liberty grounds. The Archdiocese of Washington, DC argued the Obama Administration was implementing a “conscious political strategy to marginalize and delegitimize” Catholic teaching. The Archbishop of Chicago warns Obamacare rules could put an end to Catholic hospitals all together; no dignity and no healthcare.

And despite all that, America’s system of government is among the most tolerant of the freedom of religion on the planet, as the pope’s concern in his exhortation for the persecution of Christians  and other people of faith elsewhere in the world attests. The attempt to politicize healthcare has provided ample illustration that political leaders are interested primarily in control, and not in actually increasing access to anything. “Realities are greater than ideas,” the pope wrote, a principle related to the “incarnation of the word and its being put into practice.” But not everyone has the Holy Spirit.

Free markets, and freedom, work because they are realities, not just ideas. This summer, Reason’s Ronald Bailey responded to a juvenile anti-libertarian attack centered around the idea that because no libertarian utopia exists, the philosophy ought to be considered discredited. Bailey disassembled the argument, and showed how actual existing policies centered on principles of freedom (from liberalized trade to school choice) have improved the well-being of humanity. Pope Francis could learn something here. His attack on “unfettered” capitalism shouldn’t be construed as an attack on the free market, as no such system exists today. As a former citizen of Argentina, Pope Francis’ primary exposure to capitalism was likely the corrupt and cronyist kind prevalent there, and, increasingly, around the world. That’s the reality. And as the Catholic Church’s experience with Obamacare shows, the desire by the political classes to accumulate raw power even in advanced liberal democracies is a reality, too. Freedom is an idea that can improve those realities. The pope claims the “invisible hand of the free market” can’t be trusted to foster “growth in justice,” which "requires decisions, programmes, mechanisms and processes specifically geared to a better distribution of income, the creation of sources of employment and an integral promotion of the poor which goes beyond a simple welfare mentality.” Yet only the free market can guarantee just growth. The pope’s ideas are not grounded in realities, but in an unbridled optimism about the nature of political leaders. Free markets, on the other hand, when unencumbered by self-interested government intervention, allow for a measure of self-organization and emergent order. They’re a place where, contrary to the pope’s inclinations, Christian solidarity with the poor and marginalized has a better chance of succeeding than in the top-down power structures that have tended, and continue, to snuff it out.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    Fuck the po-ope.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Yo, keep your religion out of my economics.

  • DEllett||

    It is religion from which free-market capitalism derives.

    The Constitution is fundamentally based on inalienable rights. Rights can only be inalienable if granted by God else what man or government gives, man or government can take away.

    You will not find anything in the bible that supports GOVERNMENT welfare, redistribution, or compulsion to act in one's own best interest. All are against our free agency and are satanic in origin.

    So if the Christian religion is kept out of your economics,it doesn't look good.
    Let me know if you ever hear the Pope actually quote the bible in "direct" support of his false teachings on government intervention.

  • wareagle||

    if only there was something within free markets that provides some fettering.

  • Metazoan||

    Oddly one of the first results in a Google image search for free market fettering (I was curious) is this:

    Can the Free Market Compete on a Free Market?

    At the header:

    From a Frenzied Economy to an Organic Christian Society
  • Metazoan||

    Cue EvH crying that the Church opposes Communism, a delightfully irrelevant fact. The point is, the Pope, and the Church, is wrong on this issue.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    It's relevant when people tell the Pope to "put down his Das Capital" and assert that he's a quote socialist close quotes.

    If someone calls him a socialist or communist, why is it wrong for me to rebut those claims?

  • Redmanfms||

    If someone calls him a socialist or communist, why is it wrong for me to rebut those claims?

    Dude, thus far all you've done to "rebut those claims" is to point to the anti-communism other Popes, which is irrelevant.

    "Hey, look over there" gets really old and makes you look like an idiot.

  • Redmanfms||

    "Hey, look over there" gets really old and makes you look like an idiot.

    It also makes you shriek except instead of fluffing Obama you fluff the Pope.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    All right, what are your definitions of socialism and communism and how does Pope Francis meet those definitions?

  • Redmanfms||

    All right, what are your definitions of socialism and communism and how does Pope Francis meet those definitions?

    Uhh, where did I make the argument that Francis is a socialist or communist? Oh that's right, nowhere.

    I'm pointing out how stupid and shriek-like your defense of him has been when all you are doing is shouting "Hey, look over there" while conspicuously avoiding addressing what this Pope has actually said.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    I addressed a reason contributor who callrd him a marxist and a commenter who called him a socialist. And I porvided a bit of context about the Church consistently fighting those ideologies attributed to the Pope.

  • Redmanfms||

    I addressed a reason contributor who callrd him a marxist and a commenter who called him a socialist. And I porvided a bit of context about the Church consistently fighting those ideologies attributed to the Pope.

    Granted, I've not been following your slavish defense of Francis (probably because it is so illogical and boring), but the only defenses you've mounted that I've seen are logical fallacies.

    It would make sense in the context of defending the Church from accusations of being communist/socialist (which some people, like Sevo, have done), but such isn't a defense of the Pope and makes no fucking sense whatsoever with regard to criticism targeted at him specifically. It's disingenuous, and I'm pretty sure you know it.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    I'm afraid you're being disingenuous yourself, withall due respect. I frequently said I wasn't defending the Pope's remarks, yet you say my defense of the Pope is slavish. But I suppose that little mistake isn't your fault, since you admit not reading my remarks!

  • Redmanfms||

    I'm afraid you're being disingenuous yourself, withall due respect. I frequently said I wasn't defending the Pope's remarks, yet you say my defense of the Pope is slavish. But I suppose that little mistake isn't your fault, since you admit not reading my remarks!

    Really?

    From above:

    If someone calls him a socialist or communist, why is it wrong for me to rebut those claims?
  • Eduard van Haalen||

    I see - you're claiming that the pope's comments were socialist? I can't tell for sure, because your remarks are not models of precision. The only part I really get is the invective.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    ...you're claiming that the pope's comments were socialist?

    In what way were they not?

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Thank you for asking. He didn't endorse state ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange, as in classical socialism, he didn't call for the National version of socialism which is the same as the above except letting businesses hold a meaningless title while operating de facto as para-state enterprises, and he didn't endorse the class-warfare doctrines of Marxian socialism. What definition did I miss? If socialist is simply a synonym for non-libertarian I admit he meets that definition.definition. But I've been around socialists and read their stuff and this watered down definition, mIMHO, doesn't capture the nuances of the doctrine.

  • Redmanfms||

    He didn't endorse state ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange, as in classical socialism

    So, your saying he's a Fascist?

    Interesting position for you to take.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Dear Lord, I will certainly miss your scintillating wit and in-depth discussions now that you're no longer reading my posts!

  • Bill Dalasio||

    So, basically, in your analysis, unless someone is an out-and-out communist or fascist, they aren't a socialist. That's a mighty selective definition. Bordering on the disingenuous. The guy is clearly calling for a vastly more interventionist set of policies to equalize income. That goes a little beyond "not a libertarian". The guy is clearly calling for state control of the economy to suppress "speculation". That goes a little beyond "not a libertarian".

  • Bill Dalasio||

    I'd add, the Fabians didn't call for either of the conditions you cite. Were they socialists or simply "not libertarians"?

  • Redmanfms||

    He's an adherent of liberation theology, which is Marxist in origin.

    Here is why I think this:

    Pope Francis and Father Gutierrez

    And the Pope himself:

    Pope on money and markets, specifically this:

    "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."

    And this:

    "As long as the problems of the poor are not radically resolved by rejecting the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation and by attacking the structural causes of inequality, no solution will be found for the world's problems or, for that matter, to any problems."

    Now, are you going to actually defend these statements made by this Pope, or play the "Hey, look over there" game you've indulged in thus far???

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    I regret that I need to, once again, point to your error in saying I evrr defended these statements. And I've already quoted the critic who comp, sinedthat Francis didn't use liberation theology texts in his theology courses, which would make him a poor liberation theologian.

  • Redmanfms||

    I regret that I need to, once again, point to your error in saying I evrr defended these statements.

    Okkk, so why were you all over those threads again???

    And I've already quoted the critic who comp, sinedthat Francis didn't use liberation theology texts in his theology courses, which would make him a poor liberation theologian.

    So you're not defending him, but you are defending him.

    Yeah, ok Eduard.

    Off to reasonable with you.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    No, come back, I'm sure there's some insults you haven't tried yet!

  • DEllett||

    RE: "...today we also have to say 'thou shalt not' to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills."

    While the Pope can say anything he wants as his opinion, that statement is nowhere backed up in scripture nor the teachings of Jesus Christ.

    Au contraire! Our inalienable rights derive from God and any government violation of those rights are obviously contrary to God. No one can force another to provide anything for another. Therefore, anything but free market capitalism violates these rights.

  • DEllett||

    SO•CIAL•ISM noun \ˈsō-shə-ˌli-zəm\: a way of organizing a society in which major industries are owned and controlled by the government rather than by individual people and companies

    1 . any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods
    2. A system of society or group living in which there is no private property
    3. A system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state
    4. A stage of society in Marxist theory transitional between capitalism and communism and distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done

    System of social organization in which private property and the distribution of income are subject to social control; also, the political movements aimed at putting that system into practice. Because “social control” may be interpreted in widely diverging ways, socialism ranges from statist to libertarian, from Marxist to liberal.

    The Pope is not "a socialist" per se, but he certainly advocates some socialist policies and principles.

    Therefore we may accurately describe him as socialist in various particular contexts, but probably not in general.

  • Metazoan||

    Fine, but to be honest, whether the Pope is a fascist or communist makes little difference when we are criticizing him for being a *collectivist* and an *anti-capitalist.*

  • Metazoan||

    That's what I meant by irrelevant. The Pope is wrong about capitalism, dead wrong. His ideas regarding the economy belong on the ash-heap of history, and pointing out that he doesn't follow other bad ideas won't change that.

  • Marshall Gill||

    Also, Thomas Sowell writes how "social justice" is a contradiction in terms. There is justice, which fallible human beings can only approximate in the best of circumstances, but social justice is what he calls Universal Justice, which is obviously absurd. Basically life isn't fair.

    In all honesty you could probably call John Paul II a socialist. While he was an important part in bringing down the Soviet Union, he could never be described as a Free Market Capitalist. I think the man had balls of steel. He fought both of the great injustices of his time, Nazism and Communism. He was still a socialist. He probably would have even described himself that way.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    I don't mean to conflate you with the reason staffer who said he wouldn't put down his copy of Das Kapital, or the commenter who called him a socialists. But such comments *did* get made. I get to respond.

    I also get to mention all the intellectuals who bashed the church for bring *too* capitalist.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    And I get to mention that the Church did more to overthroe Communism than the Reason Foundation did. No offense, Reason Foundation.

  • Redmanfms||

    And I get to mention that the Church did more to overthroe Communism than the Reason Foundation did. No offense, Reason Foundation.

    It's red herrings all the way down...

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Ironically enough, your insults are reaching Shriek levels. Will you compare me to Glenn Beck and Dick Cheney next?

  • Redmanfms||

    Ironically enough, your insults are reaching Shriek levels. Will you compare me to Glenn Beck and Dick Cheney next?

    Will you proffer an honest argument instead of a fallacy laden unicorn chase?

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    I have a confession to make - I have no idea what you mean by a unicorn chase.

  • Marshall Gill||

    I get to mention that the Church did more to overthroe Communism than the Reason Foundation did.

    Oh? Well, lets count deaths, why don't we? How many human beings have died as a result of the Reason Foundation? Zero? Damn, The Church certainly must count into the tens or hundreds of thousands, if not millions. How many thousands of Middle Age Europeans killed each other for The Church?

    In August 1209 the crusaders captured the small village of Servian and headed for Béziers, arriving on 21 July. Under the command of the Papal Legate Arnaud-Amaury[15] they started to invest the city, called the Catholics within to come out, and demanded that the Cathars surrender.[16] Both groups refused. The city fell the following day when an abortive sortie was pursued back through the open gates.[17] The entire population was slaughtered and the city burned to the ground. Contemporary sources give estimates of the number of dead ranging between 15,000 and 20,000.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albigensian_Crusade

    Certainly in the hundreds of thousands.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Even faithful Catholics - esprcially faithful Catholics - should deplore war crimes done in the church's name, and indeed your example is often quoted. This is like patriotic Americans deploring the use of nukes in WWII - denouncing these crikes doesnt make an American any less of a patriot. But to define America by these crimrs would be like...defining the Church by the crimes you quoted (and dont forget to set off bezieres against livesaving medieval initiatives like the Peace of God and the right of sanctuary, etc. But other than the peace of god, the right of sanctuary, foundling homes, leper hospitals, monastic improvements to agriculture, etc., what 'ave the Roman Catholics done for us?)

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    And your estimates may be on the high side, especially given that not all medieval wars were fought over religion. And some of these wars were defensive (eg, against the Turks).

    And to repeat...rhe Church did more than the Reason Foundation to defeat Communism.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    But there I go again, changing the topic from Pope Francis!

  • Redmanfms||

    I get to respond.

    Try confining your arguments to this Pope then.

    I also get to mention all the intellectuals who bashed the church for bring *too* capitalist.

    Sure, if all you've got are red herrings, why not?

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    You don't seem willing to say if he's a socialist, presumably because then, you would have to defend your position on its own merits.

    If you think he's deviated from his predecessors' denunciations of socialism, you should be able to illustrate this.

    You've said I havent proved he's not a socialist. What evidence do you have that he is? And what definition are you using?

  • Redmanfms||

    You've said I havent proved he's not a socialist. What evidence do you have that he is? And what definition are you using?

    You are either profoundly stupid, or just lying because I've made none of these claims.

    I've pointed out that your refutations, aren't refutations at all, but red herrings. A point you seem fine with because much like Pope Francis's actual statements you are conspicuously ignoring them and trying to make this discussion about something else.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Some commenters, and a Reason staffer, sail Francis was a socialist or a Marxist. So, do you agree with any of those statements? Because you seem remarkably shy about stating your position. Perhaps because you can't defend it, and find invective easier?

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    And you said my "refutations, aren't refutations at all, but red herrings," according to your own summary of your remarks. So in short, you *did* say I hadnt proved the Pope is not a socialist.

  • RyanXXX||

    He's South American - railing against Capitalism down there is like railing against "government waste" up here

  • Bill Dalasio||

    The Catholic Church has pretty much historically been pretty economically ignorant, but Francis really is dumb as a rock. “Realities are greater than ideas,” really does sum up the guy's perspective. Focus on the immediate and concrete at the expense of any genuine thought, analysis, or understanding. As such, he seems to pay attention only to consequence, rather than considering process (which strikes me as where good or evil would occur). And all this is a shame, really. A thoughtful pope who genuinely cared about the plight of the poor could call attention tot the rampant cronyism that protects the connected and powerful at the expense of everyone else. A thoughtful pope who genuinely cared about the plight of the poor could raise the issue of barriers to entry that limit the opportunities of the poor. A thoughtful pope who genuinely cared about the plight of the poor could call on the political class to work to formalize property rights of the poor, whose property is all to often "dead capital" due to its lack of recognition.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    The proper response to the Pope as well as all the leftists who want to use a veneer of Christianity to push their purely political ideological agenda is to point out that there is no biblical basis for it at all.

    Christianity is about people voluntarily choosing to accept Christ and follow his teachings.

    It isn't about using goverment to force OTHER PEOPLE to do anything.

    Jesus didn't march around at the head of a Roman legion forcibly extracting "donations" from the public to redistribute as he thought fit.

  • Homple||

    Please don't give Dan Brown any new plot ideas.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    "...and St. Peter was actually a llama. Not like from Tibet but the animal."

  • ||

    Christianity is about people voluntarily choosing to accept Christ and follow his teachings.

    It isn't about using goverment to force OTHER PEOPLE to do anything.

    Funny thing is, there are some pretty great modern-day parables to which he could point that would support his cause and establish some moral justice fettering of the free market.

    The lives of Dennis Ritchie, Bill Gates, and Steve Jobs have always had a certain 'Three Parables' air to them. The first man who works without want and makes the ground on which the other two build their empires. The second man who wanted, achieved, and then gave willingly from what he doesn't need. Finally, the third man who did little but take, both personally and professionally (in every sense), until he died.

    And our increasingly secular society sees the third man as the visionary rock star who should be remembered for the ages.

  • cavalier973||

    Pope Francis is incorrect in his belief that there can be such a thing as an "unfettered market". Even in a government-less society, a market participant must consider the expectations and possible actions of competitors, customers, employees, suppliers; the market is seriously self-regulating, and the excesses and inefficiencies that Francis criticises are wholly the result of state intervention in the marketplace.

  • cavalier973||

    Jesus was clearly in favor of property rights; in the parables He told, the landowner was the good guy and the rabble who conspired to steal the landowner's property were eventually thrown into hell.

    The parables of the talents and the pounds puts "financial speculation" in a positive light; the guy who doesn't engage in financial speculation gets thrown into hell.

    His parable of the workers in the marketplace is interesting, too; a rich guy goes to the Ancient Near East's equivalent of the temp agency several times during the day to hire workers. He contracts with each set of workers separately, and they all agree to the same wage--a penny for the day's work. The guys who were hired in the morning started complaining that they had to work the whole day for a penny, while the guys hired at the end of the day got the same amount for only a couple of hours' work. The rich guy (who represents God in the parable) is basically like, "Dudes, you agreed to this wage, and besides, it's my money, so shut up!"

    Even the celebrated case of Jesus telling the Rich Young Ruler to "sell everything he had, and give to the poor" is followed up with "and you shall have treasure in heaven." Jesus wasn't telling the RYR to be altruistic; he was telling him to make a wise investment!

    No, I'm afraid that when Francis walks through the pearly gates, he will be surprised that everyone who sees him automatically does a facepalm.

  • death2eternal||

    If you read the Evangelii Gaudium closely, you can see that he is not attacking free markets. He is, instead, calling for personal responsibility. The media, like usual, is twisting and contorting the Pope's remarks to create controversy.

  • Michael Price||

    I read it, and he's not just calling for "personal responsibility" he's specifically blaming "ideologies
    which defend the absolute autonomy of
    the marketplace and financial speculation.". Which ideologues haven't been near any significant power since 2007, and arguably not since 1913.

  • Michael Price||

    I read it, and he's not just calling for "personal responsibility" he's specifically blaming "ideologies
    which defend the absolute autonomy of
    the marketplace and financial speculation.". Which ideologues haven't been near any significant power since 2007, and arguably not since 1913.

  • John C. Randolph||

    Apparently, Frankie the Pope doesn't understand that the crushing burden of debt in Argentina is due to its GOVERNMENT borrowing money and spending it on shit they didn't need, like bribes for apparatchiki and gold-plated nose pickers for the Jefes.

    This is not the fault of the free market, it's the fault of the criminal regimes that ran up the tab.

    That being said, the banks who lent the thugs that money should collect it from the thugs themselves and nobody else. Not the Argentine taxpayers, not the US taxpayers, not the poor suckers holding dollars or pesos.

    -jcr

  • parkerbce586||

    my neighbor's mother makes 63 BUCKS every hour on the laptop. She has been out of work for 7 months but last month her pay check was 15302 BUCKSjust working on the laptop for a few hours. Learn More Here
    ===========================
    http://www.fb49.com
    ===========================

  • Cloudbuster||

    I pretty much tune out anytime anyone uses the phrase "social justice." To me that's a reliable indicator that the person has nothing useful to say.

  • Jackand Ace||

    "...that the pope was 'not primarily interested in spreading truth, but rather in exciting popular passions.' And, indeed, Pope Francis’ exhortation was meant to excite at least the passion of Catholics, to whom it was addressed. As such, his economic naiveté is born of optimism."

    What an interesting quote, Ed. Take out the word "Catholics," and substitute "Jews" and the exact same thing might have been said about Jesus by the Romans. But then, defending the poor and criticizing the economic system of the day always rankles those with the money. Right, Ed?

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Yeah, and the same could be said of Hitler. Try answering the substance of Krayewski's argument rather than hiding behind meaningless comparisons.

  • Jackand Ace||

    Jesus, Pope Francis, and Hitler? For you the same, Bill? All three defenders of the poor? Hmmm.

    By the way, it is the substance of Ed's argument. That the Pope misunderstands economics 101, and is naïve. Just pointing out that he would have said the same about Jesus back in the day. And that, to me, is missing the whole point from both of them. Ed's point that both should have understood economics better...now that is meaningless...at least to both.

  • ||

    Jesus didn't have the benefit of hundreds of years of formalized economic theory at his disposal, so his ignorance would be much more understandable. He also didn't speak on the topic, except to exhort people to continue paying oppressive taxes no matter what, and to privately practice charity. There's no comparison there because Jesus didn't philosophize on economic theory (and specifically didn't question the prevailing economic orthodoxy of his time, contra your typically content-free assertion).

  • steve8229||

    Google is paying 75$/hour! Just work for few hours & spend more time with friends and family. On Sunday I bought themselves a Alfa Romeo from having made $5637 this month. its the best-job Ive ever had.It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it out www.Buzz95.com

  • DEllett||

    Government welfare is not supported by the teachings of Jesus Christ nor any part of the bible.

    You certainly won't find the prophet and president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints agreeing with the Pope on this issue. We KNOW the Constitution and those who created it were inspired by God.

    Since it is a violation of our inalienable rights to take anything from another, especially by force, and since we cannot consent and give power to the government that we do not possess, there is no basis in the teachings of Christ that would allow, or be in agreement with, any action by government to compel the contribution to the welfare of others or to compel us to act in our own best interest.

    Providing for employment or any other need is according to the same principles. We freely assist those in need and not by compulsion.

    What we call "Church Welfare" is more accurately defined as charity. We freely give "fast offerings" for the purpose of assisting those who need who are required to reasonably show their need and then are required to work for the assistance they receive to the extent they are able. Those of us who fail to give generously of our time, talents and material will answer to God in this life as well as the next.

    FREE-MARKET CAPITALISM IS THE WILL OF GOD in this day and time as demonstrated and defined by our inalienable rights, the Constitution and the bible

  • DEllett||

    This is an outstanding article of constructive and correct criticism of the Pope's socialist/anti capitalist leanings and economic incoherence.

    Kudos to Ed Krayewski.

  • DEllett||

    Essentially it's okay when the government forces others to do things against their inalienable (human) God-given rights, but when it's against his preferred inalienable rights, well that's when the crozier hits the fan. This is exactly why separation between church and state - AS DEFINED BY RELIGION - has generally been necessary since the time of Moses.

    The government has no authority to institute healthcare in the first place, much less to force the religious to subsidize abortion. If he hadn't supported the former, he wouldn't be arguing about the latter.

    It doesn't matter what you believe, the government cannot force you to act against your beliefs, religious or otherwise, if such beliefs are recognized inalienable rights. And one inalienable right is not more inalienable than another dear Pope.

    Ask God.

  • Danno||

    This why Catholic Church got bigger and Protestant is disappearing: one went political and the other not. So what would The Founders think???

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Progressive Puritans: From e-cigs to sex classifieds, the once transgressive left wants to criminalize fun.
  • Port Authoritarians: Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal
  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement