Pope Benedict XVI’s Critique of Capitalism

Pope Benedict XVI’s Critique of Capitalism September 27, 2007

Christopher Blosser has an impressive post that brings together lengthy citations from Pope Benedict’s speeches and writings on the topic of free market economy and Marxist systems. He put in a dash of Pope John Paul II for better context.

What Christopher rightly adumbrates is that the interpretation of the criticism levelled by these two popes largely hinges upon which understanding of capitalism and Marxism one brings to the papal texts. The issue is, as his post points out, far more complicated than a mere rejection/acceptance position on economics, and one would certainly be glib to assume that the Pope approves of or unequivocally rejects the totality of free market. However, one must also discern whether Pope Benedict XVI is criticising the theory of free market, which he does quite frequently, or whether he is expressing ambivalence toward the empirical face of free market, for the theory and the practice do not necessarily coincide.

I recommend that all read Christopher’s post, especially in view of my own recent post on Benedict’s September 23rd comments on the “logic of profit.”

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  • jonathanjones02

    I’m glad you linked back to that previous discussion. The Hume – Smith connection is important.

  • I think the issue is the underlying philosophies. Benedict, in line with his predecessors, condemns both socialist utopianism and laissez-faire individualism. Both have good and bad points, but neither is complete, and as Christians, we should not fall into the trap of idolizing these secular ideologies.