Pope Francis’ ideas on social & economic justice rattle “compassionate” conservatives

Over at Politico, Katie Glueck has a great article on how Pope Francis’ desire for greater economic equality and less of a focus on wealth has rattled some within the Republican Party.

For years, Catholic leaders’ staunch and very public opposition to abortion, gay marriage and the contraception-related provisions of Obamacare made them natural allies for the GOP. But Francis has scrambled the equation by de-emphasizing hot-button social issues, warning against unchecked capitalism and pushing a populist message at odds with the core of the anti-spending, anti-big government Republican Party.

It’s unclear whether Francis’s proclamations will fray the ties between the right and the Vatican, but already some conservatives have sharply criticized his economic ideas. At the same time, some on the right have expressed admiration for the 77-year-old pope’s more inclusive approach, including on subjects such as homosexuality. Their praise comes as the GOP itself grapples with growing disenchantment among young people and other demographics for its strident tone on social issues.

You may remember Pope Francis has previously come under fire from conservatives after he criticized our “global cult of money” and called capitalism a “new tyranny.”

It’s no surprise Pope Francis has come under attack from some within the Republican Party, because for decades they’ve made it abundantly clear they value wealth and the accumulation of material goods by an increasing smaller portion of the population, which flied in the face of the kind of social and economic justice Pope Francis is espousing.


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6 thoughts on “Pope Francis’ ideas on social & economic justice rattle “compassionate” conservatives

  1. In his Christmas article, “A radical, a rebel, a prince of peace” John Nichols echoes Katie Glueck’s sentiments with his citing of the beginnings of Christianity:

    “But Pope Francis s not forging a new theology. Rather he is returning to a very old one-that of the Nazarene who, we are told, drove the money changers from the temple and said to a wealthy young man, “If you want to be complete, go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor.”


    Do not both Glueck and Nichols suggest that the Wall Street Bankers, the Koch brothers, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and others are today’s “money changers” and agents of greed?

    As a Catholic old timer, I’ve been waiting for leadership similar to Pope John XXIII with his theme of “open the windows” and Pope Leo XIII with “Rerum Novarum” calling for an end to serfdom and the beginning of equality between Capital and Labor though the establishment of unions. It seems we need a new airing out and rejection of a 21st Century, or modern, form of serfdom enabled by the GOP legislative denial and disruption funded by the “money changers.”

    Yeah, Pope Francis is right on. He is going back to the basics of Christianity, especially its emphasis on social justice.

  2. D12, bullseye. Thanks for mentioning, Rerum Novarum (Rights and Duties of Capital and Labor) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rerum_Novarum

    Lot of folks who think they’re Christian forget about large swathes of scripture, Matthew 25

    37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

    40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

    The thing is, there’s nothing “marxist” about Pope Francis. Capitalism runs on sales. It’s consumers with money to spend that keep it going.

    Billionaire Nick Hanauer:

    “Raise Taxes on Rich to Reward True Job Creators”

    “…When businesspeople take credit for creating jobs, it is like squirrels taking credit for creating evolution. In fact, it’s the other way around.
    It is unquestionably true that without entrepreneurs and investors, you can’t have a dynamic and growing capitalist economy. But it’s equally true that without consumers, you can’t have entrepreneurs and investors. And the more we have happy customers with lots of disposable income, the better our businesses will do.
    That’s why our current policies are so upside down. When the American middle class defends a tax system in which the lion’s share of benefits accrues to the richest, all in the name of job creation, all that happens is that the rich get richer.
    And that’s what has been happening in the U.S. for the last 30 years. ….”


    People who think they’re capitalists have grown far too tolerant of unemployment and income inequality. We needed a federal job guarantee yesterday.

    “…The government could serve as the “employer of last resort” under a job guarantee program modeled on the WPA (the Works Progress Administration, in existence from 1935 to 1943 after being renamed the Work Projects Administration in 1939) and the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps, 1933-1942). The program would offer a job to any American who was ready and willing to work at the federal minimum wage, plus legislated benefits. No time limits. No means testing. No minimum education or skill requirements….”


    Democrats need to take back being the party of the “hand-up,” not the “hand-out.”

    Eisenhower taxed the 1%, invested in infrastructure, and supported collective bargaining. Most Dems are now to the right of Ike. The reason the elites hate the unions is because they understand the collective bargaining is the only leverage the 99% have.

  3. Perhaps now we will see a sorting out of the Evangelical Christians and the Evangelical Pharisees. Things could get interesting.

  4. Let’s not forget that Wisconsin’s Congressional representatives, Sean Duffy and Paul Ryan, are Catholics. Unfortunately, as indicated by their voting record, they do not believe in nor practice the social and economic justice of Jesus as taught by their Church.

    In other words, Ryan’s and Duffy’s politics take precedence over practice of piety and the poor. Both Republicans have been criticized, in effect, by past letters to the House from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (UCCB).

    “…for cutting food stamps and other assistance programs for the poor.”
    “…fails to meet certain ‘moral criteria’ by disproportionately cutting programs that ‘serve poor and vulnerable people.'”
    “…makes it more difficult for illegal immigrants to claim child tax credits.”

    Much more at: http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/222003-catholic-bishops-criticize-ryan-budget-cuts-to-food-stamps

    My conclusion: Ryan and Duffy are first a Republican, a politician, and inhumane; Catholic, conscience, and caring last!

    They will reject the current message of Pope Francis just as they have rejected the Catholic bishops’ call to serve humanity in the past. Ryan and Duffy fail their faith and ordinary citizens by serving first and foremost the rich, special interests, and the greedy .

    1. But, but, Ryan and the rest love welfare when it’s for the 1%.

      “Bank Of America Dumps $75 Trillion In Derivatives On U.S. Taxpayers With Federal Approval”


      To put $75 trillion in perspective, US GDP in 2012 was around $16.5 trillion. We blew at least $6 trillion in Iraq and Afghanistan. Social Security’s Trust Fund is around $2.3 trillion.

      Bank of America is just one Wall Street Bank. No one knows how much derivative risk is being socialized onto taxpayers. I’ve seen estimates of $700 trillion.

      1. Brother John, Noam Chomsky supports our argument, at least in part, but he is equally concerned about the global warming and nuclear threat to our existence.

        “We’re no longer a functioning democracy, we’re really a plutocracy.”


        Gee, with Boehner’s fear of and bowing to the Tea Party crazies, McConnell’s vow to disrupt and destroy Obama and his agenda, and phoney Catholics like Ryan and Duffy in our Congressional delegation, not to mention a “divide and conquer” prevaricating governor, Wisconsin citizens could get depressed.

        But let’s be positive!

        With some Saturday progressive music: “We shall overcome…” via Pete Seeger.


        Brother Duane

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