One of the more interesting aspects of the Catholic Church’s involvement in civic life is that it cannot be comfortably placed anywhere along the left-right political spectrum (at least in an American context).
Just days ago, I posted about Pope Benedict’s widely-reported comments on same-sex marriage that riled liberals and heartened some conservatives. Yesterday, the Pope offered some words on economic matters that might make some conservatives uncomfortable and perhaps excite some on the left. From Reuters:
Pope Benedict said in his New Year's message on Tuesday he hoped 2013 would be a year of peace and that the world was under threat from unbridled capitalism, terrorism and criminality.
The 85-year-old pope rang in the new year with a mass for about 10,000 people in St Peter's Basilica on the day the Roman Catholic Church marks its World Day of Peace with initiatives around the world.
According to the Vatican’s website, he said, specifically:
Although the world is sadly marked by “hotbeds of tension and conflict caused by growing instances of inequality between rich and poor, by the prevalence of a selfish and individualistic mindset which also finds expression in an unregulated financial capitalism,” as well as by various forms of terrorism and crime, I am convinced that “the many different efforts at peacemaking which abound in our world testify to mankind’s innate vocation to peace. In every person the desire for peace is an essential aspiration which coincides in a certain way with the desire for a full, happy and successful human life. In other words, the desire for peace corresponds to a fundamental moral principle, namely, the duty and right to an integral social and communitarian development, which is part of God’s plan for mankind. Man is made for the peace which is God’s gift.
This is hardly the first time Pope Benedict has critiqued free-market economies. In 2009, he called for a new global political entity to oversee the growing gulf between the rich and the poor.
Michael J. O’Loughlin