Hardly, but he is certainly a severe critic of market capitalism. George Weigel sees his recent apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel) as
a clarion call for a decisive shift in the Catholic Church’s self-understanding, in full continuity with the teaching of the Second Vatican Council, Paul VI, John Paul II and Benedict XVI.
Austen Ivereigh begins his broader treatment this way:
The first teaching document mainly authored by Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, is a bold and thrilling bid to send the Catholic Church worldwide on mission. Energetic, direct, lyrical, its language and style model the evangelization to which the Pope is calling Catholics. In sharp critiques and passionate prose, it polarises the choices faced both by the Church and the world, gently but insistently inviting people to opt for mission – and to a journey of transformation and reform.
Be sure to read, however, Travis Gettys’ Pope Francis rips capitalism and trickle-down economics to shreds in new policy statement.
Here are some extracts:
“As long as the problems of the poor are not radically resolved by rejecting the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation and by attacking the structural causes of inequality, no solution will be found for the world’s problems or, for that matter, to any problems.”
His latest statement:
puts him in sharp contrast to American conservative leaders who prize the unfettered free market and promote the Randian theory of objectivism, or rational self-interest.
“I am interested only in helping those who are in thrall to an individualistic, indifferent and self-centered mentality to be freed from those unworthy chains and to attain a way of living and thinking which is more humane, noble and fruitful, and which will bring dignity to their presence on this earth,” the pope wrote.
“The thirst for power and possessions knows no limits,” Pope Francis wrote. “In this system, which tends to devour everything which stands in the way of increased profits, whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenseless before the interests of a deified market, which become the only rule.”
Pope Francis said this political and economic system was inherently sinful because it violated the biblical prohibition against killing.
“Such an economy kills,” he wrote. “How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points?”
Kieran Healy at Crooked Timber devised a test to see whether we can pick Pope Francis’s quotes from those of Karl Marx. I cheated, but I think Francis’s writing is way more accessible.
Weigel says Francis is a pastor:
who is “interested only in helping all those who are in thrall to an individualistic, indifferent and self-centred mentality to be freed from those unworthy chains and to attain a way of living and thinking that is more humane, noble, and fruitful.”
Pope Francis is a revolutionary. The revolution he proposes, however, is not a matter of economic or political prescription, but a revolution in the self-understanding of the Catholic Church: a re-energizing return to the pentecostal fervour and evangelical passion from which the church was born two millennia ago, and a summons to mission that accelerates the great historical transition from institutional-maintenance Catholicism to the Church of the New Evangelization.