I don’t know how many pro-free market Catholics there are, but I sure know a lot of them, and when the Pope speaks on economics, we (and I very much include myself in this “we”) tend to either plug our ears and ignore it, or else confidently and even irreverently dismiss it (here’s an example of me doing it to Pope Benedict XVI, in French).While I cannot count myself among those Catholics who are unabashedly of the free-market libertarian crowd, I do find interesting the questions raised by their frequent cognitive dissonance over Magisterial pronouncements on Economics. Thomas Stork, Christopher Ferrara, and others have pointed out the difficulty Austro-Libertarians have keeping faith with traditional Catholic social teaching on such matters as the "just wage," "just prices," etc.
Neither of those approaches can suffice.
But here there is also another question that surfaces. A reader who also read the above article asks:
Can someone help me out here? When the Holy Father writes a book about Jesus, he is careful to say, "My ideas, take them or leave them."Any volunteers to help out here?
When the Holy Father writes an Exhortation and focuses in part on Economics, I am supposed to give my religious assent.
I am confused.
And frankly, the thought that I must give blind assent to transparently speculative and questionable teachings such as the Theology of the Body or the Religious Imperative of Poverty-first Government Policy would leave me hard-pressed to be loyal son of the contemporary Church. Many of the Comments [to the linked article] are very good. I remain of the opinion The Pope seems to think like a 70s Protestant mainliner... and will take the Church closer to the same demographic fate. When I see a huge surge in Mass attendance and homeless shelter volunteers, I will admit (with some ambivalence) I was wrong.