"Pope Francis attacked unfettered capitalism as 'a new tyranny,'" reads the lead of the Reuters story by Naomi O'Leary. She is referring to the Evangelii Gaudium, the latest apostolic exhortation from the Holy Father. Similar headlines appeared at NBC, at the Daily Kos, in the Nation and elsewhere. But as Robert Ramono points out, nowhere did the pope actually say those words.
Still, the document is a mixed bag. It does contain some anti-capitalist rhetoric, using phrases familiar on the left. But it is also full of anti-statist, anti-collectivist exhortations. On balance the entire document looks like it was written by a committee whose members all have different views.
For me, however, this is a disappointment — a step back from progress I thought had been made only a few years ago. I participated in a conference at the Vatican in 1996, at which a group of pro-free enterprise intellectuals were assembled to analyze the crisis of the family and the role of government in creating it.
John Paul II met with our group and greeted each of us individually. We all thought this was a turning point for an institution that hitherto had shown little understanding of economics or appreciation of how markets work.
Now it seems that everything that was learned has been unlearned.
Here are some of the things Pope Francis had to say: