Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Perhaps When It Comes to Economics, Pope Francis Should Study Pope John Paul II

By Michael Novak

On the plane from Paraguay last week, Pope Francis seemed to ask for dialogue with Americans on points he might address during his visit here in September. Following a question from a journalist about reaction to his recent remarks on economics, the pope said, “I heard that there were some criticisms from the United States. I heard about it but I haven’t read about it, I haven’t had the time to study this well, because every criticism must be received, studied, and then dialogue must ensue.”

Before presuming to offer an American layman’s suggestions, perhaps it would be more fruitful to suggest another look at something Francis already knows, namely, some points of originality in the social doctrine of the Church put forth by Pope John Paul II, who himself offered shrewd critical advice (and warnings) well received in the U.S.

Like Francis, John Paul II saw that the ecology of a virtuous economic system requires both the rule of law as well as sound moral habits in its practitioners. In other words, no economy lives by itself, but rather always also by the free and law-abiding political system in which it situated, and by the habits, virtues, and far-seeing associations which contribute to the quality of its civil society. A free society needs to enjoy “ordered liberty” of all three kinds: moral/cultural, political, and economic.

Read the rest here.

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