Once Pope Francis knows US capitalism he will love it, says Catholic theologian-economist

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NEW YORK (RNS) The Rev. Martin Schlag, an Austrian-born priest who teaches economics in Rome, reassured a group of Catholics, many from the world of business and finance, that Francis’ views on capitalism aren’t actually as bad as he feared.

  • Francis is a seedy institutional politician and nothing more. The faithful just have to wait him out.

  • Greg

    No, Francis is right on with Capitalism. In this world you have Communism on one side of the scale, with limited access to the Christianity, but a heavy cross being carried by the people; whereas, on the other side of the scale, you have Capitalism in its bloated form as is here in the USA, where we have easy access to Christianity, but the cross has been removed. On both sides of the scale, people will ultimately lose their Faith, and wind up spending eternity in hell. Jesus said to take up your cross, carry it, and follow him (Matt 16:24). But he also said to give to the poor, help the poor, or else (Matthew 25:41-46). The pope has one focus in his position, it is bringing souls to the Lord for Eternal Life. The rest of the politics, he couldn’t care any less about, unless it serves his mission before God. Capitalism can be fine, but as long as we use it properly for the Kingdom of God, otherwise it will cost us our souls in eternity.

  • Fran


    “Calitalism can be fine, as long as we properly use it for the kingdom of God; otherwise it will cost us our lives in eternity.”

    It is interesting to note that Jesus said his kingdom was no part of this world, and that it is a heavenly kingdom (Matthew 4:17; 24:14); so what does man’s governments have to do with God’s? Absolutely nothing!

    The prophet Daniel prophecied that God’s kingdom will put an end to all of man’s kingdoms or governments and rule in their place and stead to time indefinite (Daniel 2:44).

    So what does theocracy, or rule by God over man, through his kingdom, with his son, Jesus, as King (Isaiah 11:1-9), have to do with any of man’s governments (whether democratic, communist, royalty, dictatorship, or anything else), or rule by man over man? Absolutely nothing!

    So take your pick…God’s rule or man’s! That’s a choice everyone on earth will eventually need to make.

  • Fran

    False religion has been involved in both politics and wars for a very long time now. But thankfully not for much longer!

  • Doc Anthony

    And what if Schlag is wrong? Why is he trying so hard to put lipstick on this issue anyway?

    Let’s just see what the Pope says, or doesn’t say, in his own words. That’s what really counts.

  • Greg1

    Fran, Capitalism can be fine, but it is not an end in itself. I understand you are a pre-millennialist, and that is your business. Yes God’s kingdom has yet to come in its fullest, but it is partly here already (Luke 22:29, Rev 1:6). Our Lord established a Church, which has one foot in the kingdom of heaven, and one in the kingdom on this earth, awaiting the final coming of Christ, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it (Matthew 16:18). That means the Church/Kingdom, has the power to join people to the body of Christ through Baptism (Gal 3:27), forgive sins (John 20:22-23), ordain priests (1Tim 4:14, 2Tim 1:6), Confect the Body and Blood of Our Lord (John 6:27-60, 1Cor 11:23-29), establish and control Marriage and the rite of Marriage (Eph 5:30-33), Anoint the sick who are on the verge of dying, so to effect a final cleansing of the soul (James: 5:14-15, Mark 6:13). Then kingdom, then, is partly here already, and is the Catholic Church, but it has yet to come in its…

  • mbd

    “That is quite different from the American system”
    He’s kidding right?
    Is this real life?

  • Betty Clermont

    The pope already loves capitalism. He has never appointed or promoted anyone who favors progressive government.

  • http://the-american-catholic.com/2015/05/13/popewatch-merchants-of-death-again/

    Well, he said this in his own words. Since the audience was a group of schoolchildren, I doubt it was his usual chaff.

  • Aren’t many Stalinists employed in the Church apparat. Sorry to disappoint you, Betty.

  • Yes, it’s real life. Read Hernando de Soto on how daily life in business in Latin America differs from that in occidental countries.

    Of course, it has been an initiative of Obama and Barney Frank to turn business into a set of politicians’ dependents (we will give you waivers…).

  • John

    When will Pope Francis learn that America is the best and that America is all that matters? Our economics, sociology, culture, and theology are directly from God Himself. Schlag understands this and is right in his position of American exceptionalism. We are right, period, no argument entertained. Isn’t it obvious to all?

  • Mark

    What none of the “capitalists” know is the extensive body of thought and teaching that exists in the Bible and the church about economics and social class. There would be a much saner discussion going on now – and we might even have a much saner world – if those things were widely known. But they aren’t, so instead the question is Does the pope really understand capitalism? As if that is the only thing worth knowing.

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  • Greg1

    Betty, the pope must accept every form of government where the Church exists, and that includes all of them. The Church is in this world, but not of this world.

  • Barry the Baptist

    Please elaborate on this “extensive body of thought and teaching.” There are a few reasons I can think of as to why this knowledge is not common; one of them is that it doesn’t exist.

  • Fran


    The time left for the last world power described in Daniel’s prophecy (Daniel 2:41-43) or the dual Anglo-American world power represented by the feet and toes of clay and iron of that image, which has been in existence since World War I, is short.

    And as Daniel summed it up appropriately:

    “And in the days of those kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall BREAK in pieces and CONSUME ALL these kingdoms and it shall stand for ever.” (Daniel 2:44)

    That kingdom was established in the heavens in 1914 when Jesus became its King.

  • Greg1

    John, at one time America must have been the exceptional place to live, but in our day, we have much to be accountable to before God Almighty. We ignore the cries of the babies being aborted, and continue to put the same people back into office who have made the abortion industry legal. We continue to let our morals decline in a multitude of ways, and promote all of this as a “good.” And like slack jawed followers, we just passively accept it. No, God will hold America accountable some day. And I only hope I have left this world by then.

  • Fran

    “At this Peter opened his mouth and said: “For a certainty, I perceive that God is not partial, but in every nation the man that fears him and works righteousness is acceptable to him.” (Acts 10:34).

    God will certainly bless and approve of persons in all nations, not just the USA, by their exercise of faith and righteousness.

  • First of all, I need a further explanation of what “collectivist” or “corporatist” economic solutions means. Those don’t sound so good.
    His scorn of “trickle-down theories” is a problem. That sounds like he doesn’t go in for the idea of allowing the free market to benefit not just the business owner but also employees by allowing the business owner to keep more of what he earns.
    And, of course, there’s the problem of his espousing the global warming hoax. That is a big indicator of what a Marxist he is.
    But the real problem is he has said he wants to make battling economic injustice a priority for the church. And the fact that he is partnering with the Castros and Barack Obama to bring about that “economic justice”, means he wants big government to provide for the poor, rather than the church.


  • mnemos

    The article sounds like Rev. Schlag might be a bit over-optimistic about American capitalism. If he hasn’t noticed the cronyism inherent in the government response to the financial crisis he wasn’t paying enough attention. There are enough examples of the growth of cronyism in DC that he shouldn’t be so confident that the Pope isn’t talking about here as well – even if it isn’t as bad as Argentina.

  • Colleen

    I would prefer to keep Church out of State. This church has not done well with its own set of abuses. Bring on the next moral example please……Do we have any?

  • Jimmy

    does anyone read the bible? What Jesus say about how hard it is for a rich man to get into heaven? what did he tell the rich man to do? what about the cooectivism of acts and everyone according to their need? Blessed are the poor…Would jesus approve of capitalismand trickle down econics, probably not.

  • Vicar Dave

    I wonder how US capitalism squares with the Book of Acts and the renewed doctrine of the “preferential option for the poor” !
    I don’t think it does. I hope all the new bishops of the USA appointed by Francis are in the image of Bishop Romero.
    It will be interesting times.

  • Vicar Dave

    Is your tongue in your teeth or are you drinking red, white and blue Kool-Aid?

  • Greg1

    Fran, our Lord was clear that the final kingdom was his kingdom, the one he would establish:
    Daniel 2:44: “In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever. This is the meaning of the vision of the rock cut out of a mountain …that broke the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold to pieces.
    Luke 20:17: “Jesus looked directly at them and asked, “Then what is the meaning of that which is written: “‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone’? Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces; anyone on whom it falls will be crushed.”
    Now indeed the Church is not the kingdom in its fullest, only heaven alone is the place of perfection. The Church/kingdom is seen as having 3 designations: The Church Triumphant (heaven), the Church Militant (earth), Church…

  • Fran

    A limited number of humans become a part of God’s kingdom. Rev. 7:1-8 and 14:1-5 indicate them to be 144,000, bought from mankind as firstfruits to God and the Lamb (Rev. 14:4). Rev. 20:4-7 says these will rule as kings with Jesus for 1,000 years (they include the apostles and first-century Christians).

    Jesus referred to them as the little flock (Luke 12:32) because of their small number; but he also referred to other sheep who were not of that flock (John 10:16). Both groups are under one shepherd, Jesus. Those other sheep are mankind on earth who will be blessed to receive the millennial rule of God’s kingdom.

    The 144,000 spirit-anointed Christians who are born-again or become spirit persons in the heavens (1 Corinth. 15:50) have been chosen by God since Pentecost 33 C.E., and are the bride of Jesus (Rev. 21:2,9). Only these have a heavenly hope; while only meek mankind has the earthly hope (Matt. 5:5). Both will enjoy eternal life.

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