WASHINGTON, Sept. 23, 2015 — “Some people continue to defend trickle-down [economic] theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world,” said Pope Francis in his encyclical “Evangelii Gaudium” (The Joy of the Gospel).
Free markets, said Pope Francis, in which individuals freely cooperate for mutual economic benefit, express “a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power.”
The pope, like so many of his fellow travelers on the ossified left, believes the global economy is a quiescent, lumbering monolith like, well, his ancient church or the impoverished, stalled and dying Greek state.
If Greece is on the verge of mass starvation, it’s not for lack of egalitarian socialism. The island is swimming in it.
In fact, its European Union partners and institutional investors keep lending Greece money in the vain hope its government will stop squandering it, allow entrepreneurs to borrow it and build new businesses to employ its people and lift them out of poverty.
Socialism has yet to accomplish that feat anywhere in the world. That’s because it isn’t designed to create, only consume – like an intestinal parasite. Without the host organism’s continual feeding, the parasite withers and dies.
It is a hopelessly dependent and benighted zilch.
The first secular church organized around socialism, the Soviet Union, evaporated into the mists of time late last century. And its Asian imitator, China, took the hint and abandoned Leninist collectivism to become a capitalist beast “wielding economic power” on the world stage.
Post-socialist Russia had a mere 293,047,571 hungry mouths to feed in 1991. China had 1.1 billion and, so, quickly embraced “trickle-down theories” – with a totalitarian twist.
Pope Francis is stuck in the 1970s. It was a time when clever Jesuit theologians melded the New Testament with Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto. They dubbed this unholy coupling “liberation theology.”
It was a Peruvian Jesuit, Father Gustavo Gutierrez, who coined the phrase in his book “A Theology of liberation.”
“Charity is today a ‘political charity,’” wrote Gutierrez, “it means the transformation of a society structured to benefit a few who appropriate to themselves the value of the work of others. This transformation ought to be directed toward a radical change in the foundation of society, that is, the private ownership of the means of production… There are not two histories, one profane and one sacred, ‘juxtaposed’ or ‘closely linked.’ Rather there is only one human destiny.”
Gutierrez obviously thought a postmortem heaven too unsatisfying and abstract an idea on which to peg the hopes of Christian congregations. Instead, he believes, like Pope Francis, that the job of the Catholic Church is to create a utopian heaven on Earth.
And throughout the ’70s and early ’80s, more than a few Latin American Jesuit priests joined their Marxist guerrilla brothers crouching in the steamy jungles, put down their crucifixes and took up arms to seize, as Gutierrez advised, the “means of production” in the name of “one human destiny.”
The authoritative book covering the history that informs the present pope’s ideology is Malachi Martin’s 1987 book “Jesuits.”
“The ‘mission’ of Liberation Theology, in other words, was Marx’s ‘class struggle.’ The battle that Liberation Theology told its devotees to fight and to win was not the Ignatian battle of Christ’s followers against the Enemy, but the battle of a worldwide class of men and women against the toils and the traps of capitalism… As a Liberation Theologian, your nearest, your most organized, and your most widely spread allies were Communists and Marxists,” Martin wrote.
So, at the risk of sounding like a certain mortal man, clad in white vestments, whose ecclesiastical office claims among its many attributes “infallibility,” let me venture into the realm of theology and, well, pontificate.
The New Testament’s book of Mark tells the story of a woman that interrupted a dinner where Jesus was in attendance. She carried with her “a beautiful alabaster jar of expensive perfume.”
After anointing him with the fragrance, a foreshadowing of Christ’s impending death and funerary preparation, “There were some who said to themselves indignantly, ‘Why was the ointment wasted like that? For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.’”
Christ’s response is, in the eyes of liberation theologians, flippant and un-Christian.
“Leave her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you want, you can do good for them. But you will not always have me.”
In other words, there is no such thing as “Christian charity.” Helping the poor is an act of worship with Christ at its center. To elevate the poor and materialism (income equality) as the main focus of Christianity is nothing short of heresy.
“Truly, I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.”
It’s clear Pope Francis learned nothing from his recent visit to Cuba, an impoverished prison island where so many on the left express “a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power,” the dictatorial Castro brothers.
Shane Croucher of the International Business Times reports that the “Vatican Bank, officially titled the Institute for the Works of Religion, manages $7.3 billion of assets on behalf of its 17,400 customers. And it manages $1 billion of equity, which it owns. Another tidbit to emerge is that it keeps gold reserves worth over $20 million with the U.S. Federal Reserve.”
Americans should ignore Pope Francis’s lectures on the evils of free markets, at least until the day he puts his money where his mouth is and divides Vatican assets among the poor.
Or until that special, wondrous day socialism finally fulfills its promise to mimic Christ’s miracle and multiplies the loaves and fishes to feed the hungry multitudes.