December 6, 2013
Pope Francis is misguided in his beliefs about the dangers of capitalism, and instead of commenting on economic issues he should focus exclusively on matters affecting faith and morality, says Andrew Napolitano.
In an op-ed piece for The Washington Times the former New Jersey Superior Court judge and senior judicial analyst for Fox News says the Pope is "wide of the mark" in his verdict that free-market capitalism undermines the social mobility of the poor as he suggested in his recent apostolic exhortation.
"No economic system in history has alleviated more poverty, generated more opportunity, and helped more formerly poor people become rich than capitalism," writes Napolitano, who is a traditionalist Roman Catholic.
"The essence of capitalism goes to the core of Catholic teaching: the personal freedom of every person. Capitalism is freedom to risk, freedom to work, freedom to save, freedom to retain the fruits of one's labors, freedom to own property and freedom to give to charity."
Napolitano says that, contrary to the Pope's view, free markets are too stifled by government control and regulation. He adds that arguments for the redistribution of wealth go against traditional Catholic social teachings that call on believers to "become our brothers' keepers" through personal charity.
"The Pope seems to prefer common ownership of the means of production, which is Marxist, or private ownership and government control, which is fascist, or government ownership and government control, which is socialist. All of those failed systems lead to ashes, not wealth," he writes.
"What shall we do about the Pope and economics? We should pray for his faith and understanding and for a return to orthodoxy. That means the Holy Mother Church under the Vicar of Christ — saving souls, not pocketbooks."