Pope Francis hasn’t been shy about showing his disdain for capitalism and. During his recent trip to Latin America, for example, the pontiff said the the unfettered capitalism is “the dung of the devil.”
Like many others, I’ve complained that the pope is presenting a distorted, incomplete, and naive view of capitalism. But to his credit, Francis has vowed to consider these reactions before his trip the U.S. this September. “I heard that there were some criticisms from the United States. I must begin studying these criticisms, no?” he said. “Then we shall dialogue about them.”
That dialogue is welcome, though most people aren’t expecting a radical shift in Pope Francis’s views of economics. But what if they did change? What if not only the pope but also the entire Catholic Church embraced free enterprise and free markets?
It may seem unlikely, but it wasn’t that long ago the Catholic Church took the side of repressive and authoritarian regimes over religious liberty. That changed largely because of the United States showed how religious benefited Christians. As Judge John Noonan has observed, “the Declaration on Religious Freedom would not have come into existence without the American contribution and the experiment that began with Madison.”
At Mirror of Justice, Greg Sisk argues that just as the Catholic Church discovered the virtues of religious liberty, eventually the church will appreciate the charisma of democratic capitalism: