It is rather patronizing to say that the Pope does not fully understand free enterprise
Not at all. It is a reality. St John Paul II set the pace.
Reference has been made to Pope Francis and Poverty by Samuel Gregg November 26, 2013 8:08 PM, at
There is praise of Pope Francis here, but very important problems arise which cannot just be glossed over. I quote on the serious problems identified in this Apostolic Exhortation:
- ‘To be very frank (which Francis himself is always encouraging us to be), a number of claims made by this document and some of the assumptions underlying those statements are rather questionable.
‘…the pope’s remark that “authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Koran are opposed to every form of violence” (253). As one of the most authoritative Catholic commentators on Islam, Pope Francis’s fellow Jesuit Samir Khalil Samir (who is no knee-jerk anti-Muslim), writes in his 111 Questions on Islam (2002), Westerners who assert that groups like the Taliban are acting in a manner contrary to the spirit of Islam “usually know little about Islam.”
- ‘My purpose, however, is to focus upon some of the many economic reflections that loom large throughout Evangelii Gaudium and which are, I’m afraid, very hard to defend. In some cases, they reflect the straw-man arguments about the economy that one encounters far too often in some Catholic circles, especially in Western Europe but also in Latin America.
‘Prominent among these is the pope’s condemnation of the “absolute autonomy of markets” (202). If, however, we follow Evangelii Gaudium’s injunction (231–233) to look at the realities of the world today, we will soon discover that there is literally no country in which markets operate with “absolute autonomy.”
- ‘Another claim made by *Evangelii Gaudium *that warrants scrutiny is that certain ideologies “reject the right of states, charged with vigilance for the common good, to exercise any form of control” over the economy (56). But outside the minuscule world of anarcho-capitalists (who exert zero influence upon public policy), this simply isn’t the position of those who favor free markets today (let alone past advocates like Adam Smith).
‘…we find Francis critiquing those who “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.”
‘There are several problems with this line of reasoning. First, opening up markets throughout the world has helped to reduce poverty in many developing nations. East Asia is a living testimony to that reality — a testimony routinely ignored by many Catholics in Western Europe (who tend to complain rather self-centeredly about the competition it creates for protected Western European businesses and other recipients of corporate welfare) and a reality about which I have found many Latin American Catholics simply have nothing to say’.
The precision and depth of both St John Paul II and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI need to be emulated.