Vatican's Turn to the Left Will Make the Poor Poorer
Pope Francis - and I say this as a Catholic - is a complete disaster when it comes to his policy pronouncements. On the economy, and now on the environment, the Pope has allied himself with the far left and has embraced an ideology that would make people poorer and less free.
Francis is reportedly preparing a lengthy encyclical message to the world's 1.2 billion Catholics on the need for decisive action on climate change and will speak before the U.N. General Assembly on this subject later this year.
The Pope recently declared that: "The monopolising of lands, deforestation, the appropriation of water, inadequate agro-toxics are some of the evils that tear man from the land of his birth. Climate change, the loss of biodiversity and deforestation are already showing their devastating effects in the great cataclysms we witness."
This is the language of the radical green movement that is at its core anti-Christian, anti-people, and anti-progress. He has aligned himself with a secular movement that is antithetical to the fundamental theological underpinning of Catholicism -- the sanctity of human life and the value of all souls.
The modern pagan green religion in developed nations needs to be denounced by the Vatican. These are the people and organizations who have come to believe that an excessive number of human beings is destroying Mother Earth.
Some of the great atrocities of the past half century have been borne of this belief that the world is overpopulated. Has the Vatican forgotten the detestable and immoral population control policies including, eugenics, tens of millions of forced abortions and forced sterilizations, and one child policies - all in the name of greens trying to save the planet?
It was Pope John Paul II who heroically denounced this theology and reminded Catholics and all Christians that human beings are resource creators, not resource destroyers.
The Vatican's warning that we are witnessing "great cataclysms" of weather events is contradicted by scientific evidence. The number of hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts, typhoons, monsoons, earthquakes, floods, freezes, and so on are not on the rise, as even the government's own data confirms.
The Pope has been snoookered. And the best way to counteract death and destruction from severe acts of Mother Nature is through economic development.
This is why the Pope's missives on capitalism and income inequality are so misguided as well. Catholics, of course, have a moral responsibility to care for the poor and disadvantaged. But the greatest vehicle for alleviating poverty and deprivation is the very institution of free market capitalism that he now denounces.
Consider this recent statement by Francis, which sounds much like a Marxist view of economics:
"Some people continue to defend trickle-down theories, which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world," he said. "This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system."
But wait: the people who believe with a "crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power" are the socialists who centralize economic power in the hands of statist leaders.
Again, Pope John Paul II, who aligned himself with Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher to help win the Cold War and defeat the evils of a communistic economic system, understood this reality -- in part because he lived under totalitarianism. Francis wants to put more power into the hands of the statist oppressors who always promise that they stand with the working class.
This embrace of governmental action that underlies many of the Pope's statements would not lift up the poor, but condemn them to more poverty and less freedom. Consider the climate change fanatics' agenda. They seek cap and trade policies, carbon taxes, regulations against the use of cheap and abundant fossil fuels. These are all regressive forms of taxation that hurt the poor among us the most.
What is the theological case for telling those in the poorest villages of the planet where people still live at subsistence levels, that they have a moral obligation to save the planet by staying poor and using less fossil fuels, less energy, and electricity?
Cheap and affordable electric power is the most basic antidote to fighting extreme poverty, disease, malnutrition, and human deprivation - and should by celebrated by all humanitarians.
What the Pope should tell the world's Catholics is this: if climate change is a threat, the best antidote is not to empower heavy-handed and incompetent command-and-control governments to try to combat it, but rather allow free people to employ their wealth, technology, ingenuity, and creativity - to find ways to head off catastrophe.
If, God fobid, the United Nations or Greenpeace is to be our salvation, then we are doomed.
Francis should be a saver of souls. Free people and free enterprise should be left to save whatever ails the planet.
Stephen Moore is chief economist at the Heritage Foundation and a Fox News contributor.