I hear it all the time: Pope Francis is a Marxist. He advocates for just wages, fair working conditions, maternity leave, greater responsibilities for the super rich, and even a need for wealth distribution and people cast him off as being a communist and ruining the Church.
There’s just one problem: all of the things I mentioned are actually points that Pope Saint John Paul II made in his own encyclical letters. And Benedict XVI. And most of the popes before them for the past 130 years.
The thing is, there are a lot of commonalities between Catholic Social Teaching and Socialism/Communism. For the last 130 years, we have condemned rampant capitalism as a means of abusing people and helping only the super rich. There is an inherent dignity to human life that must be safeguarded in the workplace, and one’s work should ultimately be life-giving and directed toward the common good.
But we have also had our fair share of criticisms against socialism as well. The insistence on communal rights over private rights, especially when it comes to seizing private property, is a major problem. Government assistance should not be so overbearing that it leaves people dependent and unwilling to work. Such systems suffocate the authentic human development of the human person.
In both Socialism and Capitalism, the Church finds reasons for applause as well as reasons for criticism. They are both equally flawed in that their ultimate goal is material: the acquisition of wealth and power. Catholics must resist this goal and instead see that there is something far more important at stake: the dignity of the human person. For us, the economy must serve the needs of humanity, not the other way around.
In this video, I show that Pope Francis is far from a Marxist and far from a Capitalist. He is a Catholic, in line with the history of Social Doctrine of the Church.