Reinhard Cardinal Marx Reinhard Cardinal Marx
Archbishop of Munich and Freising
Sept 21, 1953
Nov 20, 2010
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English Cardinal (not Karl) Marx rips capitalism, backs Pope Francis
Jan 17, 2014
When Pope Francis issued his sweeping exhortation, “The Joy of the Gospel,” last November, there was a great deal of focus — and gnashing of teeth on the right — over his blasts at capitalism and in particular his dismissal of the “trickle-down” theories favored by conservatives who want to cut taxes for the wealthy and cut benefits for the poor:

That theory “expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system,” Francis wrote. “Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting. To sustain a lifestyle which excludes others, or to sustain enthusiasm for that selfish ideal, a globalization of indifference has developed.”
Many on the right offered one or several of these explanations for Francis’ comments, which were consistent with his many other criticisms of today’s capitalist economics:
• The pope was talking about capitalism in his native Argentina, not in places like the U.S. and the industrialized West;
• The pope was talking about “crony capitalism” of the kind that even conservatives condemn;
• The pope is not criticizing genuine capitalism because almost every country regulates the marketplace to some degree thus inhibiting economic growth;
• Poverty and income inequality aren’t that bad and that’s because of capitalism;
• The pope just doesn’t know what he’s talking about and should stick to other topics.
Well, Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich is not from Latin America, he knows what he is talking about, and he says the idea that capitalism has never been properly tried is silly — and he says it in the latest edition of the Vatican daily, L’Osservatore Romano:
“To think that somewhere there are pure markets which give rise to the good through free competition is mere ideology,” wrote Marx, who is one of the pope’s “Gang of Eight” special advisers. “Capitalism should not become the model of society” because “it does not take into account individual destinies, the weak and the poor.”
He noted that “The call to think beyond capitalism is not a struggle against the market economy,” but, according to Catholic World News, he wrote that an economic vision that “reduces economic action to capitalism has chosen the morally wrong starting point.”
Catholic social teaching offers the “spiritual foundations of a social market economy” but  “these ideas have never played a real role.”
“The future is not capitalism,” he concludes, “but rather a world community that leaves more space to the model of responsible freedom and that does not accept that people, groups, and individuals are excluded and marginalized.”

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