Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

8/10/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

We must listen carefully to his message.

Is Pope Francis a communist? An article on CNBC raised the question based on comments made by the Holy Father since his becoming pope. His comments on capitalism have raised eyebrows and caused some conservative Catholics in the United States to take pause.

We must not equate every call for social justice to communism. Justice is most possible amid a culture of freedom, but freedom also requires responsibility to one another.

We must not equate every call for social justice to communism. Justice is most possible amid a culture of freedom, but freedom also requires responsibility to one another.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

8/10/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: Pope Francis, communist, socialist, capitalism, economics, poor, poverty


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Pope Francis is different from many who have gone before him. He has eschewed much of the papal luxury that comes with the Petrine mission, and he maintains a simple, Jesuit lifestyle equipped with just the basics. He wears simple shoes, a simple watch, wears an iron cross and sits in simple chairs. He carries his own luggage.

His statement is one of humility, and his pronouncements call for attention to the plight of the poor and disenfranchised. What message then, is he sending to the world's rich?

According to Mark Koba, writing for CNBC, Pope Francis has repeatedly cited "the pitfalls of capitalism, decrying global income inequality and equating low-wage labor to a form of slavery."

It seems ironic for the leader of one of the world's wealthiest institutions to be criticizing wealth, yet Pope Francis has called for the Church to be poor. He has asked bishops and cardinals to leave their princely houses and to get into the streets where the needy are. If ever there was a pope who was poor in spirit, it's Francis.

So what gives? Is he a communist? A socialist of some form? Anti-capitalist to say the least?

None of the above.

Pope Francis is simply reaffirming Catholic teaching. He's also modeling badly needed behavior.

"Analysts say Pope Francis-leader of some 1.2 billion Catholics-is not necessarily calling for the demise of free market theory. Rather, he's issuing a strong warning to economic leaders," Koba explained.

"Like many people, he thinks capitalism won't survive unless it decreases income disparity," Koba quoted George Haley, professor of marketing and international business at the University of New Haven, as saying.

In the United States, rampant capitalism has enriched the wealthy as the nation pulls out of the Great Recession. However, while Wall Street prospers, Main Street continues to struggle.

When we put the question to our readers on Catholic Online Facebook, readers overwhelmingly responded that they were yet to see the benefits of the recovery that Wall Street is enjoying.

Although hiring has ticked up, many Americans remain unemployed. Those who have gone back to work are earning less. Meanwhile, retirees are facing scaled-back pensions and debt continues to grow for the young, especially those attending college.

What's happening is a massive aggregation of wealth in the hands of the few, while the masses must learn to make do with less.

The poverty is relative. Even the lower-middle class in America is wealthy by world standards. Nonetheless, the wealthy are rising, and the rest of the world, from the middle class to the poor, is being left behind. Only in developing economies such as in India and China, are middle classes booming.

Pope Francis is calling attention to this problem. Disparity in wealth means less opportunity and less freedom for people at the bottom of the socioeconomic scale. Such people become more likely to adopt socialist and communist ideals, which can be very nationalistic and opposed to freedom of religion or Christianity.

Pope Francis isn't decrying the ownership of private property, but rather the hoarding of it. Hoarding wealth can be harmful to the soul. Very few people in positions of wealth and power have the ability to live poorly, as the Holy Father does, avoiding the temptations of power.

Most wealthy individuals seek to secure and increase their wealth and influence, even though it often comes at a high human price.

Rightly, the wealthy and empowered should consider the teachings of the Church when setting policies for both business and government.

This is the constant message of Pope Francis. There is nothing communist or socialist about asking for people to make responsible, sometimes selfless decisions with their wealth and power. Instead, it is very Christian to concern oneself with the plight of those less fortunate. This is Pope Francis' call, and it is the message of Christ Himself.

Being wealthy, conservative, and successful does not itself equate to being right.

We would do well to pay attention.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for August 2014
Refugees:
That refugees, forced by violence to abandon their homes, may find a generous welcome and the protection of their rights.
Oceania: That Christians in Oceania may joyfully announce the faith to all the people of that region.



Comments


More Living Faith

You Go Into the Vineyard Too! Every Baptized Christian Has a Vocation and Mission Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

The Church is a seed, sign and beginning of the kingdom, making the kingdom present in a world which is wounded by the effects of sin but waiting to be born anew. The Lord continues His work through us. We are the workers in His vineyard. It matters little what ... continue reading


Friendly overtures to Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) met with mixed response Watch

Image of LCWR presidents welcome the approximately 750 members to the assembly.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Leadership Conference of Women Religious, or LCWR is comprised of Catholic women religious who are leaders of their orders in the United States. The group represents about 80 percent of the 51,600 women religious in the U.S. However, relations between the ... continue reading


POPE: 'It is legitimate to halt the unjust aggressor' Watch

Image of Pope Francis said that

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Answering a wide array of questions, which included the proper response to the persecution of Christians and other religious minorities by fundamentalists of the Islamic State in Iraq, Pope Francis said that "it is legitimate to halt the unjust aggressor." ... continue reading


POPE IN SOUTH KOREA: 'Peace is not simply the absence of war, but the work of justice' Watch

Image of Pope Francis told 200 South Korean government officials that the two Koreas, halved between North and South since the end of the Korean War in 1953,

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis, in his first trip to Asia, addressed South Korean political and civic leaders and encouraged them to stay on a steady course towards social justice and democracy. "Peace is not simply the absence of war, but the work of justice," the Pope said in ... continue reading


Will Suffering, Struggle, Failure and Pain Make us Bitter or Better? Watch

Image of Because of his close communion with Jesus Christ, the Risen One who had called him in the desert, Paul cultivated an interior strength which made it possible for him to walk through the pain, to even embrace the pain, and to experience failure itself as a path to the Cross where he found comfort in the wounded side of Jesus the Savior.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

St. Paul was an extraordinary man and an extraordinary Christian. An Apostle, raised up out of the ordinary course, he accomplished great things for the Lord as he eagerly responded to His calling to build the Church and, through her, to help change the world. A ... continue reading


The Assumption: The Virgin Mary goes before us in the Order of Grace Watch

Image of

By Deacon F. K. Bartels

What God has promised on the last day for those he loves, he has already accomplished in the Virgin Mary. Let us turn to Mary and love her as our spiritual Mother in the order of grace; let us open our hearts to her Immaculate Heart, that she may illuminate her ... continue reading


The Assumption or Dormition of the Mother of the Lord: What Does It Mean? Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

This event is a part of the naturally supernatural  progression in the life of the Blessed Virgin of Nazareth. Her Yes, her Fiat of surrendered love, brought heaven to earth. This exercise of her human freedom, responding to the invitation of God, as sent through ... continue reading


Making bad situations worse in the Middle East

Image of Only by following the non-violent Christ can our world that seems so steeped in violence be converted.

By Tony Magliano

The heart wrenching tragedies throughout the Middle East are not the United States' fault, that is, at least not entirely. The fact that many Sunni Muslims and Shiite Muslims distrust each other, that the Allies established artificial national boundaries to suite their ... continue reading


Pope Francis sends greeting to Chinese president en route to South Korean trip Watch

Image of The Pope's South Korean visit marked the first ever papal flight across China.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

On his way to South Korea, Pope Francis bid China a friendly greeting. "Upon entering Chinese air space, I extend best wishes to your Excellency and your fellow citizens, and I invoke the divine blessings of peace and well-being upon the nation," the Pope said in ... continue reading


Pope Francis Calls for Prayers and Action Watch

Image of

By Joseph J. Klock

In a series of tweets over recent days, Pope Francis has raised an alarm to the international community pleading for us to protect and pray for "all those suffering violence in Iraq," and to live in solidarity with them. VATICAN CITY (Catholic Online) - In a series of ... continue reading


All Living Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ezekiel 36:23-28
23 I am going to display the holiness of my great ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 51:12-13, 14-15, 18-19
12 Give me back the joy of your salvation, sustain in ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 22:1-14
1 Jesus began to speak to them in parables once ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for August 21st, 2014 Image

St. Pius X
August 21: On June 2, 1835, Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto saw the light of ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter