Originally published October 3 2015
Why does Pope Francis condemn capitalism but not communism?
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) During his recent historical visit to the United States, Pope Francis, the leader of the Catholic Church - a religious sect that itself depends greatly on the patronage of the American faithful in order to remain viable - had some harsh words for the very economic system upon which the country was founded and upon which it has flourished.
In short, the pontiff continued his crusade, if you will, against capitalism - the laissez-faire economic and political system in which a country's trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit rather than by the state.
While in Bolivia in July – a country mired in an endless cycle of poverty under the head of Movement for Socialism party President Evo Morales – Francis urged a new world economic order while denouncing a "new colonialism" by those who impose austerity programs (in order to save national economies from ruin) and calling for the poverty-stricken to be given "sacred rights" of labor, lodging and land.
In other words, more socialism sprinkled with shades of communism – two economic and political systems that have proven, time and time again, that they are incapable of producing wealth and widespread economic security for the bulk of the people.
Capitalism has alleviated more poverty than any other economic systemReuters reported:
In one of the longest, most passionate and sweeping speeches of his pontificate, the Argentine-born pope also asked forgiveness for the sins committed by the Roman Catholic Church in its treatment of native Americans during what he called the "so-called conquest of America."
Quoting a fourth century bishop, he called the unfettered pursuit of money "the dung of the devil," and said poor countries should not be reduced to being providers of raw material and cheap labor for developed countries.
Unless, of course, those nations and their people benefited from the provision of raw material and labor in the form of income and jobs (which capitalism does).
The Holy See's anti-capitalism is also tied to radical environmentalism.
"Let us not be afraid to say it: we want change, real change, structural change," he said in Bolivia while decrying a system that "has imposed the mentality of profit at any price, with no concern for social exclusion or the destruction of nature."
Therefore, it is odd that in his speech to a joint session of Congress during his visit, the pontiff was suddenly singing the praises of capitalism.
As reported by Breitbart News:
[T]he Pope's most striking words came when speaking about the ability of the free market to lift people out of poverty.
In the fight against poverty, Francis said, it "goes without saying that part of this great effort is the creation and distribution of wealth. The right use of natural resources, the proper application of technology and the harnessing of the spirit of enterprise are essential elements of an economy which seeks to be modern, inclusive and sustainable."
Asking a great question of a great manFair enough; these words came after the pope promised that he would study up on the American economic model and try to learn more about it after criticizing capitalism earlier.
Nevertheless, others within his flock are concerned that he would single out capitalism and not cast a disparaging eye on economic models that have proven track records of creating poverty, not wealth. One of them is noted Cuban-American priest Father Alberto Cutie.
Writing recently for the Spanish-language El Nuevo Herald, Cutie – a former television and radio host who left the Catholic Church for the Episcopal Church so he could start a family – was baffled by the pontiff's visit to Cuba, where he landed before heading to the United States.
"Why do you and other religion leaders condemn capitalism so strongly, and offer us a list of all the disasters that result from it on earth, but we never see an equally strong condemnation of atheist communism, which continues to cause the world so much harm? This inequality when the time comes to condemn appears unjust," Cutie wrote.
"Is it really more important to have diplomatic relations with a country that has not had free elections in 50 years, that abuses its people, that has a well-documented history of oppressing and robbing the Church – than to seek justice, the common good and freedom for all Cubans?"
It's a great question, and one that Francis ought to answer at some point.
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