Is the Pope a Socialist? No
By Cristina Odone
The Pope will address Congress today and the champions of the American Way on the Hill are as nervous as naughty schoolchildren outside the head teacher’s office.
Francis will find plenty to criticise. But it is consumerism not capitalism that gets him cross.
Americans dislike criticism, especially from foreigners (and, if they are WASPS, especially when those foreigners are Latin Americans). The prospect of a religious leader (even when, for 70 million of them, he istheir religious leader) fulminating against their way of life, has them riled. From Ann Coulter to Donald Trump, the self-appointed defenders of the American way of life are getting ready for a confrontation with his Holiness.
Pope Francis will disappoint this combative lobby. He knows that, despite the mistakes, there is value in the free market. The system may be flawed – in Evangelii Gaudium, his recent ‘apostolic exhortation’, he warns against dog-eat-dog competition, compulsive consumption and corruption – but he believes Americans can mend it. I suspect he will warn them that it is time they stopped messing about, and started working seriously to reform their economy. Their future (and that of the rest of the world) depends on it.