Pope Francis urges governments to 'redistribute' wealth

Pope Francis called upon governments to redistrubute wealth to the poor in order to address the "economy of exclusion" that he sees around the world.

Associated Press:

Pope Francis called Friday for governments to redistribute wealth and benefits to the poor in a new spirit of generosity to help curb the "economy of exclusion" that is taking hold today.

Francis made the appeal during a speech to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the heads of major U.N. agencies who met in Rome this week.

Latin America's first pope has frequently lashed out at the injustices of capitalism and the global economic system. On Friday, Francis called for the United Nations to promote a "worldwide ethical mobilization" of solidarity with the poor.

He said a more equal form of economic progress can be had through "the legitimate redistribution of economic benefits by the state, as well as indispensable cooperation between the private sector and civil society."

Francis urged the U.N. to promote development goals that attack the root causes of poverty and hunger, protect the environment and ensure dignified labor for all.

Friday's audience came just days after the Holy See was battered in a second round of grilling by a U.N. committee over its record of handling priestly sex abuse. Neither the pope nor Ban spoke of the issue. Francis did refer to another topic at the U.N. hearings: the church's opposition to abortion, which U.N. committee members have criticized as an impediment to women's access to reproductive health care.

Francis called for respect for life "from conception to natural death" and his denunciation of the "culture of death" echoed previous papal exhortations against abortion.

Like most well meaning souls, Francis hasn't a clue about how to reconcile the desire to redistribute wealth with offering poor people "dignified" labor for all. By disincentivizing the creation of wealth, it will be impossible to create the jobs that would give the poor dignity. A "spirit of generosity" is a fine thing, and something the Catholic church should be promoting. But the church should also promote the protection of property, given their stance on church property that has been expropriated in the past.

This is another issue that Francis has trouble reconciling with reality. The Vatican gets rightly up in arms if the wealth of the church is threatened, but can't bring itself to call upon governments to protect the property rights ivital to the health of  a free society.. Despite a "spirit of generosity,"  any expropriation of private property in the name of "redistributive justice" must be tempered with a respect  for property rights. Otherwise, there won't be much to redistribute.

The pope can afford to be generous with other people's money. He's a religious leader, after all, and doesn't have to deal with the real world consequences of what he proposes. The fear is, more nefarious personalities will latch on to the pope's call for redistributing the wealth and use it as a battle cry to impose huge new taxes to fund their social enginieering schemes.

I doubt whether the pope would approve of much of that.

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