Since the mid-1800s every pontiff—from Pius IX to Benedict XVI—has forthrightly condemned socialism. But could that trend be broken with Pope Francis? Could he be a closet socialist?
Bernie Sanders seems to think so. In a recent interview Sanders was asked whether he thought Francis shared the senator’s socialist views:
“Well, what it means to be a socialist, in the sense of what the pope is talking about, what I’m talking about, is to say that we have got to do our best and live our lives in a way that alleviates human suffering, that does not accelerate the disparities of income and wealth,” Sanders tells Rosica, head of the Canadian Catholic network Salt and Light, in an interview that will be broadcast Tuesday.
We are living in a world where greed has become, for the wealthiest people, their own religion, Sanders said.
“When [Pope Francis] talks about wealth being used to serve people, not as an end in itself, I agree with that,” Sanders said.
Sanders noted the pope’s critique of trickle-down economics.
“[H]e believes that in democratic societies, government itself should play a very strong role in protecting the most vulnerable people amongst us,” Sanders said. “That is a direct critique of conservative politics, and of course he’s going to be attacked for that.”
Sanders isn’t the first to make this claim. After the pontiff’s trip last summer to Latin America, Bolivia’s president Evo Morales told the Associated Press after the visit that he thought that the Pope’s “emphasis on a world without exclusion amounts to socialism”: