ICYMI: Over at The Federalist this past Friday, Ethics and Public Policy Center Fellow Luma Simms reviews Pope Francis and the Caring Society. As noted in my April 18 review, the collection of essays includes perceptive and educational insights from Acton’s own Samuel Gregg as well as many others, including Phillip Booth.
The authors of the essays in Pope Francis and the Caring Society understand Catholic social doctrine well. Here they attempt to understand and interpret the current pope in light of all that has already been articulated by the church. They are economists, theologians, historians; with expertise and irenic engagement, they support Pope Francis’ call to care for the poor, the marginalized, and the environment.
They do not shrink from discussions of wealth inequality, consumerism, oligarchy, crony capitalism, greed, and the plundering of the environment. But they also engage the pope critically, especially on the questions of capitalism and redistributive socialism. They do not begrudge crediting him when he is right, nor do they hesitate from a healthy critique of his understanding of the market.
The mind is conditioned by circumstances, and Pope Francis was shaped by his social, economic, and political milieu in Peronian Argentina. Samuel Gregg, in his essay, does a fine job expounding on that history. Authors Andrew Yuengert, Gabriel Martinez, Lawrence McQuillan, and Hayeon Carol Park are unrelenting and evenhanded in their critique of both our current economic problems, how capitalism has done and can do damage when not bounded by a moral society (as both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI had asserted), and on Pope Francis’s sometimes ill-informed views on wealth creation.
The review — and the book that inspired it — are both highly recommended.