Reinhard Cardinal Marx Reinhard Cardinal Marx
Archbishop of Munich and Freising
Sept 21, 1953
Nov 20, 2010
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English Distinguishing capitalism from market economy, leading cardinal defends Pope’s economic comments
Jan 17, 2014
Writing in L’Osservatore Romano, a prominent German cardinal defended Pope Francis’s comments about the economy in his recent apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium [The Joy of the Gospel].
Cardinal Reinhard Marx, who was installed as Archbishop of Munich and Freising in 2008, is a member of the advisory Council of Cardinals established by Pope Francis to assist him in the governance of the Church.

Evangelization, said Cardinal Marx, entails more than catechesis and the administration of the sacraments; it also entails the transformation of society, culture, politics, and the economy.
“The call to think beyond capitalism is not a struggle against the market economy,” he said, as he distinguished the market economy from the financial capitalism that has come to the fore since the 1990s. This financial capitalism, he said, has “led to a catastrophic crisis.”
In criticizing capitalism, he added, he criticizes an ideology that “makes capital the point of departure” and views human persons as “cost factors.” An economic vision that “reduces economic action to capitalism has chosen the morally wrong starting point.”
“To think that somewhere there are pure markets which give rise to the good through free competition is mere ideology,” he added. “Capitalism should not become the model of society” because “it does not take into account individual destinies, the weak and the poor.”
“The social doctrine of the Church,” on the other hand, offers the “spiritual foundations of a social market economy … In the global economic debate, however, these ideas have never played a real role.” Ensuring that the poor play an active role in the Church and in society, rather than simply viewing the poor as objects of charity, is part of the task of evangelization, he added.
“The future is not capitalism, 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,” he concluded.
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