Pope Francis is adamantly opposed to free-market capitalism, and he denies being a Marxist. What does this make him? You need to know the answer!
Pope Francis has once again shaken things up on the world scene. He has written a new apostolic exhortation, “The Joy of the Gospel,” which declares an official enemy for the Catholic Church: free-market capitalism.
“Some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world,” Francis wrote in his exhortation. “This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naive trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system.”
The pope’s statement is clear: He has taken a stand against libertarian-leaning, pro-free-market economic policies.
Throughout his exhortation, Francis attacks “unfettered capitalism” as “a new tyranny.” He condemns “income inequality,” the “culture of prosperity,” and “a financial system which rules rather than serves.”
“As long as the problems of the poor are not radically resolved by rejecting the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation and by attacking the structural causes of inequality, no solution will be found for the world’s problems or, for that matter, to any problems,” he writes.
In particular, he calls for action beyond a “simple welfare mentality” and asks for an “overhaul of the financial system.” The rich must share their wealth, he writes, and politicians must guarantee all citizens “dignified work, education and healthcare.”
“This is just pure Marxism coming out of the mouth of the pope,” says conservative radio pundit Rush Limbaugh. “Unfettered capitalism? That doesn’t exist anywhere. Unfettered capitalism is a liberal socialist phrase to describe the United States.”
Later in the interview, Francis reiterated that he isn’t changing Catholic social doctrine. “There is nothing in the exhortation that cannot be found in the social doctrine of the Church. … I was not, I repeat, speaking from a technical point of view but according to the Church’s social doctrine. This does not mean being a Marxist.”
So, Pope Francis is adamantly opposed to free-market capitalism, and he denies being a Marxist. What does this make him? Forbes magazine lists the current pope as the fourth most powerful person in the world. You need to know the answer to this question.
The Return of Feudalism
With the defeat of the French Emperor Napoleon at Waterloo, the old feudal economic system of medieval Europe was swept away.
In its place sprang up two new competing economic theories. The first was Adam Smith-style capitalism. The second was Karl Marx-style socialism. Whereas capitalist philosophy called for all economic power to be in the hands of the individual, socialist philosophy called for all economic power to be in the hands of the collective state.
“The church safeguards souls, and must retain power over all matters it judges necessary to this end, but should leave other matters to the prince,” they write. “The prince retains power he deems necessary for governing his realm, but other matters subside to the corporations. These retain powers they deem necessary to setting their just wages, prices and quotas, but other matters subside to the industrialists. Industrialists retain such powers as they need to govern their businesses, but details subside to shop foremen. These charge master tradesmen with task, but leave them to get on with it, and so on down to the lowest worker .…”
Really, this Catholic corporatist system is just feudalism for the industrial age. Unlike free-market capitalism, this system does not allow private individuals to establish businesses outside of society’s established hierarchy. Pope Leo’s exhortation purports to defend the poor, but errs in denying the realities of human nature.
Just like Marxist socialism, Catholic corporatism presumes the reliability of a “benevolent” and “compassionate” elite. However, 1,200 years of medieval history prove that Catholic bishops are no less vulnerable to the corrupting temptations of power than were Lenin’s central planning engineers.
The Fascist Connection
After the stock market crash of 1929 and the Great Depression, many people around the world became disillusioned with the Wall Street brand of capitalism being practiced and turned to corporatism as an alternative. By substituting “Fascist Party” for “Catholic Church,” Benito Mussolini more or less co-opted Pope Leo’s economic system.
Even though Mussolini’s one party state fought occasional battles with the Catholic Church over state control, the Vatican accepted his corporatist economy. Mussolini declared the Holy Roman Empire restored and, in return for Catholic endorsement in the Lateran Treaty of 1929, he established Roman Catholicism as the only recognized religion in Fascist Italy. His treaty also subsidized Catholic clergy, subjected textbooks to church veto and made insulting the Vatican a penal offense. All of this delighted Pope Pius xi, who spoke of Mussolini as “a man sent by Providence.”
Other countries soon followed Mussolini’s example.
Regardless of this fact, however, millions of unemployed masses across Europe are in desperate straits and have no interest in supporting the current economic order. Faced with mass social unrest, it is possible that some countries may quit the euro. Others, however, will undoubtedly turn to Germany, willing to do almost anything to get German guarantees of employment and financial stability.
As the Trumpet’s UK and Europe correspondent Richard Palmer wrote last January, “This huge unemployment rate could be the hammer, anvil and furnace necessary to forge a newly integrated Europe.”
Enter Pope Francis!
The pope’s new apostolic exhortation, “The Joy of the Gospel,” is likely to be met with widespread enthusiasm across southern Europe. What could be better, in their minds, than a “compassionate” mother church to convince the German fatherland to guarantee all European citizens dignified work, education and healthcare?
To find out more about the “Holy” Roman alliance of 10 kings now forming in Europe, and about the conditions they will demand for economic “security,” please read Herbert Armstrong’s classic booklet Who or What Is the Prophetic Beast? ▪
Full article: Pope Francis: Marxist or Catholic Corporatist? (The Trumpet)