Scott Wartman of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports on the impact Pope Francis’s critique of capitalism will have on politics and policy. The one Republican interviewed doesn’t seem especially fazed, and unsurprisingly the Democrats and Jesuits are elated. Here are the concluding paragraphs:
Both Democrats and Republicans in the region didn’t feel the pope’s message changed the political landscape.
What the pope said in Evangelii Gaudium is nothing new, said attorney Mark Guilfoyle, a Catholic and Northern Kentucky attorney involved in many Democratic causes. Pope Leo XIII said pretty much the same thing in his 1891 encyclical Rarum Novarum, he said.
Guilfoyle, a Democrat, doesn’t see the pope’s message as changing church teaching or having a big impact on the Catholic vote.
“I would think any right-thinking Democrat or Republican would agree that unbridled greed is a sin and something that ought to be avoided,” Guilfoyle said. “That’s all he’s saying.”
The pope’s comments will likely have some political impact for the GOP, Fr. James Bretzke, a Jesuit priest and professor of moral theology at Boston College, said. Based on the pope’s guidance, conservative bishops will have a harder time urging Catholics to vote for a candidate solely because the candidate is against abortion or gay marriage, he said. Instead, Francis called on Catholics to take a more nuanced approach that includes economic policy when deciding who to vote for, he said.
“I think it’s going to be difficult for the Catholic congressman in my home state of Wisconsin, Paul Ryan, to claim that his (proposed) budget is in tune with Catholic social teaching,” Bretzke said.
If the pope’s teachings are followed, capitalism wouldn’t go away; it just means it would provide a just wage for workers, decent health insurance and access to good education, said Thomas Groome, a professor of theology at Boston College.
“It is not that he opposes capitalism,” Groome said. “He wants a moral capitalism.”
Schickel said he likes the new pope and thinks he’s encouraging good debate.
“It opens up a discussion, which I think is good,” Schickel said. “There are evils to materialism.”