I found it necessary to respectfully disagree with Pope Francis the last time he took a swing at capitalism. On that occasion, it seemed likely that his remarks were more specifically directed at sweatshop exploitation in the Third World, which had recently taken a horrible toll in human life. But of course, the Left seized upon him as a new champion of socialism who wanted to throw down against economic liberty in general.
The Pope went into the ring against capitalism again the other day, and this time it was more clear that his remarks were meant as a broad critique, although the lefties who even more seized on his comments to push their ideology are reading way too much into them. Shikha Dalmia at the Washington Examiner provides a good summary of what the Pope said, before usefully reminding him that capitalism is the engine of wealth that provides the money for Catholic (and every other) charity:
For about the sixth time since assuming office eight months ago, the pope this week offered a sweeping condemnation of “unfettered” capitalism, blaming its alleged obsession with the “golden calf” for perpetuating poverty, oppression, tyranny and much else.
The pope claims that the “opinion” that “economic growth, encouraged by the free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness” has “never been confirmed by the facts.” (He obviously hasn't been listening to Bono, which speaks well of his taste.)
Therefore, governments “charged with the vigilance of the common good” must take strong steps to “exercise any form of control,” including redistributive taxes, to stop the march toward a society where “those excluded are no longer its underside or its fringes or its disenfranchised — they are no longer even part of it.”
No doubt such purple prose about “exclusion” will gain him adoring fans among the left — notwithstanding the irony that he is speaking for an institution that excludes half of humanity — women — from the ranks of priesthood. But is capitalism the cause of poverty and is redistribution the cure?
No and nyet.