One of America’s most popular and influential Catholic bishops told the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) Friday that the Catholic Church has nothing in common with socialism but supports a “vigorous market economy.”
Bishop Robert Barron of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles disagreed sharply with WSJ editor Matthew Hennessey who said some Catholics self-identify as “pro-life socialists.”
“We’re antisocialists,” the bishop countered, who support “a vigorous market economy that is disciplined by a very strong moral sensibility. The church clearly affirms the market economy” — that is, “a morally constrained and culturally conditioned market economy.”
A social media phenomenon, Bishop Barron has 1.6 million Facebook fans and 130,000 Twitter followers, and his videos on YouTube have been viewed 34 million times, while his channel has some 165,000 subscribers.
“Only Pope Francis is more popular with English-speaking Catholics,” the article notes.
Regarding socialism, Bishop Barron has official Catholic teaching firmly on his side.
Pope Leo XIII powerfully denounced socialism in 1891 and forty years later, Pope Pius XI condemned the socialist ideology even more forcefully, even in its more mitigated forms.
“Whether considered as a doctrine, or an historical fact, or a movement,” Pius wrote, “Socialism, if it remains truly Socialism, even after it has yielded to truth and justice on the points which we have mentioned, cannot be reconciled with the teachings of the Catholic Church because its concept of society itself is utterly foreign to Christian truth.
And he concluded: “Religious socialism, Christian socialism, are contradictory terms; no one can be at the same time a good Catholic and a true socialist.”
Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter Follow @tdwilliamsrome.