Papal statements are like St. Paul, trying to be all things to all men. In the recent exhortation, he famously decried “trickle-down” economics and promoted the misleading “inequality” theme or meme.
Yet this same document also condemns “all forms of collectivism” and “sets limits for state interventions”—the same “interventions” the pope calls for in other paragraphs. Like so many papal declarations concerning temporal matters, this one could just as easily have been entitled “Ex Altera Parte, Ex Altera Parte”—“On the One Hand, On the Other Hand.” If anyone can use Evangelii Gaudium to “proof-text” their pet economic philosophy, what good is it, really?
And yet and yet . . .
On balance, though, Pope Francis displays a naive faith in the wisdom and benevolence of the state, especially for someone who survived the Dirty War. (Not all Argentinian priests were so fortunate.)
She gets to the heart of it with that.