Pope Francis Should Show Some Humility Before Capitalism

The Roman Catholic Church has done amazing good in the world. One thing I would credit the institution for is teaching the Ten Commandments in Western Europe effectively enough to plant the seed of the rule of law and private property so that capitalism could bring prosperity to the world at a level never witnessed before in human history.

I guess the Pope is not interested in taking credit on behalf of his denomination.

Pope Francis is a published author of a major work for the first time under that name, having issued his first apostolic exhortation. The topic: money. The 224-page document rails against unfettered capitalism as “a new tyranny,” and had this to say: “How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points?” He implored the rich to share their wealth, explaining that just as we are guided by the words “‘Thou shalt not kill’ … we also have to say ‘thou shalt not’ to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills.”

So I guess we have to only consider the Roman Catholic Church’s other great works in giving to the needy and helping the sick and impoverished. Those are great works indeed.

And capitalism far exceeds them all.

Capitalism has empowered humanity to climb out of poverty and spread equality on a scope unprecedented in human history. Billions are alive who would have died in childbirth without capitalism. The standard of living of the entire planet has risen to a scale that the Apostle Paul probably couldn’t imagine.  A million Mother Theresa’s could not accomplish a tiny fraction of the amount of help that capitalism has provided the poor and downtrodden masses.

Medieval Christian Europe had real virtues, but to compare it to the present age and claim that now we have “an economy of exclusion and inequality” is laughable.

The Vatican ad copy gets worse:

Looking beyond the Church, Pope Francis denounces the current economic system as “unjust at its root”, based on a tyranny of the marketplace, in which financial speculation, widespread corruption and tax evasion reign supreme. He also denounces attacks on religious freedom and new persecutions directed against Christians. Noting that secularization has eroded ethical values, producing a sense of disorientation and superficiality, the Pope highlights the importance of marriage and stable family relationships. Returning to his vision of a Church that is poor and for the poor, the Pope urges us to pay particular attention to those on the margins of society, including the homeless, the addicted, refugees, indigenous peoples, the elderly, migrants, victims of trafficking, and unborn children.

Naturally, there is much that the Pope writes that is correct and good. But the marketplace is only people trading with one another so that both traders are better off. It has transformed human life. It almost seems as if Pope Francis’ desire for “a Church that is poor and for the poor,” makes him want more poverty. Eroding capitalism will certainly provide that. It can’t provide anything else.

It seems to me we got better Popes in the shadow of communism. People living under anti-capitalist tyranny would not buy into these slogans accusing the marketplace of tyranny.

Another possibility is that the Pope is witnessing the ravaging effects of Central Banks, public debt, and cronyism. But that is no excuse. Anyone can tell the difference between fiat-currency, bankster regimes and capitalism. The Pope should learn his subject matter before presuming to teach us about it.

Ignorance in the name of Christ is still ignorance.