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'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for May 2015
Universal:
That, rejecting the culture of indifference, we may care for our neighbours who suffer, especially the sick and the poor.
Evangelization: That Mary's intercession may help Christians in secularized cultures be ready to proclaim Jesus.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More Living Faith

Top 5 Roman Catholic colleges in the United States Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

What constitutes being the best university is oftentimes subjective and usually in adherence to one's beliefs and practices. Choosing a college is one of the biggest decisions many people are making. Some opt for those that offer the best training in the fields of ... continue reading


Don't take your children 'hostage,' Pope tells separated couples Watch

Image of Christian communities, Pope Francis says

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In discussing the role of parents educating their children, Pope Francis in his General Audience, advised separated couples to "never, never, never take the children hostage!" LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Pope spoke on the role of parents in the ... continue reading


A Baltimorean's reflections on the Baltimore riots

Image of

By Tony Magliano

"The God of peace is never glorified by human violence," wrote the famous Trappist monk Thomas Merton. Whether it's on an individual, city, national, or international level, violence always dishonors God, and makes bad situations worse. The recent Baltimore City riots ... continue reading


8 encouraging Bible verses to lift you up Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Sometimes getting up in the morning can be the hardest thing you'll do all day. When life's worries press down on you and take your soul hostage, the most important thing you can do for yourself is turn to God. He will always be there for you, through the good times ... continue reading


Pope Francis tells bishops to act more like pastors - and not 'pilots' Watch

Image of The meeting between bishops will last until May 21. At that time, bishops will discuss how their faithful have received Pope Francis's apostolic exhortation, The Joy of the Gospel, and look at ways to implement its teaching.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Addressing bishops in Italy, Pope Francis told them to act more like pastors than "pilots" telling the faithful what to do. The pontiff said that bishops need "Ecclesial sensitivity." They should remain bold in denouncing cultural trends that offend human ... continue reading


Five-year-old boy brings people to tears with heartfelt act of kindness Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

During his meal at a Waffle House restaurant, 5-year-old Josiah Duncan's attention wandered to the man outside the establishment. The man, dirty and holding a plastic bag, became the center of the young boy's curiosity and concern. After learning from her mother that ... continue reading


Amazing 'Bulletproof' cross under construction in middle of Christian-hostile Pakistan Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Everything changed for a Pakistani businessman, trying to build one of the world's tallest and first "bulletproof" cross, after God appeared in his dreams. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - Parvez Henry Gill, a real estate businessman, claimed  God gave ... continue reading


Future priests endure 'preaching boot camp' to learn how to spice up sermons Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis has been clear, priests should be able to touch the hearts of their audience whenever they preach. To remedy the lack of heart-and-soul-felt sermons, one seminary in Detroit decided to hire professional actors to teach soon-to-be priests how to give ... continue reading


Pope Francis takes Vatican diplomacy to new levels Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis is being called a "Pope of Politics" for his steadfast approach on many of the world's toughest issues. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Pope is a leader "unafraid of mixing theology and politics," according to Reuters. So far during his time as ... continue reading


The Church Needs to Be Baptized Afresh in the Holy Spirit Watch

Image of Do I still believe that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are available for ordinary Christians? You bet I do! I believe that Pentecost still happens. I KNOW it still happens. We can ALL know it still happens because we can experience its effects in our own lives. We should not be afraid of the Holy Spirit! In fact, we should regularly seek to be filled with more and more of the Spirit.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

We need to pray for a New Pentecost for the Church in this hour! We need more of the Holy Spirit for the New Evangelization of the Church - so that a renewed Church can engage in the missionary task of the Third Christian Millennium. We need to be baptized afresh ... 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, Acts 25:13-21
13 Some days later King Agrippa and Bernice arrived ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 103:1-2, 11-12, 19-20
1 [Of David] Bless Yahweh, my soul, from the depths ... Read More

Gospel, John 21:15-19
15 When they had eaten, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for May 22nd, 2015 Image

St. Rita
May 22: St. Rita was born at Spoleto, Italy in 1381. At an early age, ... 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