Sunday, August 2, 2015

"the pope is not an anti-capitalist"

Fr. Juan Carlos Scannone, mentor of Pope Francis when the Pope was a young priest:

“He doesn’t criticize market economics, but rather the fetishization of money and the free market,” Scannone said. “One thing is market economics. Another is the hegemony of capital over people.” 
Francis’s split from Argentina’s more left-leaning clergy would define much of his career as a Jesuit. But at the Colegio Máximo, he lived his beliefs — and set an example for others — by practicing a politics of humility, austerity and actions over words. 
“He would wake up early and do the laundry before the staff arrived,” said Mario Rausch, a Jesuit brother who still lives at the college. There were several poor neighborhoods nearby, and Francis would walk across muddy fields to celebrate Mass there on weekends. Then he would return to cook huge meals for the whole college. He slept in a small room with a simple, wood-frame single bed.
I am second to none in my hatred for Marxism. Marxism is raw evil and is the ideological root of most of modern totalitarianism. Marxists should be sought out and kicked out of academic and polite society. They are the moral equivalents of Nazis.

Pope Francis is no marxist. He was known as a conservative in Argentina, and he opposed liberation  theology as Jesuit master and archbishop of Buenos Aires.

Francis' call--so beautifully elaborated in Laudato Si--is for using our gifts, and particularly our economic gifts, to serve the least among us. It is right and noble and what the Church, as the Body of our Lord, is called to do.

Capitalism entails much spiritual danger--greed, envy, gluttony, sloth and idolatry-- and it is particularly dangerous because, unlike socialism, it works. It genuinely produces prosperity. No one who lives in a socialist culture loves it forever--socialism always fails, always leads to misery of a very tangible form. But capitalism is a narcotic, because it actually makes us comfortable and prosperous, and it seems not to lead to the kind of economic catastrophe that is inherent to socialism.

The Pope's warnings about capitalism are on target. I might stress the evils of socialism more than he has, but I'm not the pope, so I'll do my stressing as a faithful son of the Church.

Conservatives need to get a grip and understand just what the Holy Father is saying. Just because we (rightfully) detest Marxism doesn't mean that capitalism isn't without serious dangers.

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