The latest example is his widely-reported address of last Friday, May 9, 2014, to the United Nations, “Address of Pope Francis to the UN System Chief Executives Board for Coordination,” in which he seems to endorse the dream of every socialist: redistribution of wealth.
This is the section in his address which has drawn so much attention:
Today, in concrete terms, an awareness of the dignity of each of our brothers and sisters whose life is sacred and inviolable from conception to natural death must lead us to share with complete freedom the goods which God’s providence has placed in our hands, material goods but also intellectual and spiritual ones, and to give back generously and lavishly whatever we may have earlier unjustly refused to others.
The account of Jesus and Zacchaeus teaches us that above and beyond economic and social systems and theories, there will always be a need to promote generous, effective and practical openness to the needs of others. Jesus does not ask Zacchaeus to change jobs nor does he condemn his financial activity; he simply inspires him to put everything, freely yet immediately and indisputably, at the service of others.
Consequently, I do not hesitate to state, as did my predecessors (cf. JOHN PAUL II,Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, 42-43; Centesimus Annus, 43; BENEDICT XVI, Caritas in Veritate, 6; 24-40), that equitable economic and social progress can only be attained by joining scientific and technical abilities with an unfailing commitment to solidarity accompanied by a generous and disinterested spirit of gratuitousness at every level. A contribution to this equitable development will also be made both by international activity aimed at the integral human development of all the world’s peoples and by the legitimate redistribution of economic benefits by the State, as well as indispensable cooperation between the private sector and civil society.
Consequently, while encouraging you in your continuing efforts to coordinate the activity of the international agencies, which represents a service to all humanity, I urge you to work together in promoting a true, worldwide ethical mobilization which, beyond all differences of religious or political convictions, will spread and put into practice a shared ideal of fraternity and solidarity, especially with regard to the poorest and those most excluded.
“equitable economic and social progress can only be attained by … the legitimate redistribution of economic benefits by the State”
John Hayward of Human Events went to great pains and much mind-reading contortions to rationalize what Pope Francis really had said and what Pope Francis really means, that:
- At the same time as Francis is calling for a wealth redistribution, he also calls for “an awareness of the dignity of each of our brothers and sisters whose life is sacred and inviolable from conception to natural death” — referring to abortion and euthanasia.
- Francis calls for “a generous and disinterested spirit of gratuitousness at every level,” not just at the governmental level.
- Francis’ idea of “legitimate” wealth redistribution is not what Hayward calls “a parasitic mega-government that enriches itself from the labor of honest citizens, and spends titanic amounts of money on endeavors that have nothing to do with alleviating desperate poverty.” [Really? How does Hayward know that?]
- What Francis meant by the “poorest and those most excluded” who are deserving of charity is not what actually happens in America’s welfare state, wherein the ideology of “income inequality” has been appropriated “by arrogant leftists to claim the power to fine-tune middle-class salaries to meet their notion of ‘fairness.’” [Really? How does Hayward know that?]
This is the comment I wrote in response to Hayward:
I am a conservative Roman Catholic who loves my faith, and I am simply sick of this pope opening his big mouth time and again, necessitating conservative commentators like John Hayward to come to his rescue to “reinterpret” his words.
Mr. Hayward can rationalize what Pope Francis really said and meant until Hayward is blue in the face, but no explanation can ever remove these 9 damning words that the pope uttered: “the legitimate redistribution of economic benefits by the State,” with emphasis on the last 3 words “by the State.”
With those 9 words, Francis has endorsed not only the Left’s welfare state but Socialism and Communism. In so doing, Francis is intruding into politics. Thus, the IRS should remove from the U.S. Catholic Church its tax-exempt non-profit status.
Et tu, Francis. Have you joined Caesar, against our birthright of freedom, given to us by God?
Knowledgeable Catholics know Pope Francis was not speaking “ex cathedra,” i.e., with infallibility, because this address does not pertain to fundamental church beliefs, doctrines and dogma. But the world gives his words authority because of who he is.
This pope is oblivious to the record of what socialism and communism have wrought — of repression, abuse, torture, and murder in the hundreds of millions in the 20th century alone. (See The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression.)
This pope does not speak for me.
And here’s the account of Jesus and Zecchaeus from Luke 19:1-10. Note that Jesus commended Zecchaeus on his voluntary charity-giving to the poor. Nowhere is there mention of the welfare state, or of government’s enforced “charity” via confiscatory taxes, or of the illegitimate or “legitimate redistribution of economic benefits by the state”:
And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho.
And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich. And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature. And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycomore tree to see him: for he was to pass that way.
And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for today I must abide at thy house.
And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully.
And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner.
And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord: Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.
And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.