Love the poor? Pope called a commie for obeying Jesus
Posted in the Minneapolis Forum
#1 Dec 24, 2013
Pope Francis has been swiftly branded anti-capitalist, Marxist and even Communist, just for pointing out that people should not worship money, corruption should not be tolerated, and that our global economic system should create more jobs for people who don’t have them.
“This is just pure Marxism coming out of the mouth of the pope,” railed Rush Limbaugh after the pope released his first Apostolic Exhortation last week.
The talk radio blowhard was hardly alone.
•“Is he el papa del comunismo?” reads a piece on Gawker.com , headlined,“Top ‘Screw Capitalism’ Lines” in Pope Francis’ New Message.”(Never mind that the pope didn’t say “screw capitalism,” or anything resembling it.)
•“The Pope’s Self-Defeating Anti-Capitalistic Rant,” reads an unreasonable headline on Reason.com .“He shouldn’t bite the hand that feeds the church.”
•“A salvo against global capitalism,” reads an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal.
•“The pope has officially declared a new enemy,” claims a piece on The Atlantic magazine’s website.
So now even the pope is an enemy combatant?
Perhaps the most audacious thing the pope suggested in his treatise was that “trickle-down economics” wasn’t trickling down to everyone. But you hardly need papal authority to point out that unemployment rates are excessively high and that the gap between rich and poor is historically very wide.
You also don’t need a direct line to God to observe that too-big-to-fail banks, and many large corporations, hold disproportionate sway over the world’s governments and can craft rules and tap treasuries to suit themselves.
Nor does one need a pointy hat to denounce “widespread corruption” when key facets of the so-called “free-market” have been illegally manipulated, from energy prices to LIBOR, the global interest rates that affect the price of almost everything.
In his exhortation, the pope is merely pointing out that “free markets” should not be so free as to corrupt themselves and all humanity.
Nowhere in the pope’s message does he say he wants to replace capitalism with something else. He didn’t even use the word “capitalism” once in his exhortation. But some people can’t handle a single stitch of criticism when it comes to that abstraction in their heads they call capitalism.
I became a business writer because I love capitalism, just as sports writers love sports and theater critics love the performing arts. None of these subjects, however, are without their controversies.
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