US Catholic Faith in Real Life

My favorite Francis quote: "The glass magically gets bigger."

By Bryan Cones | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

I may be accused of having a pope-crush on Pope Francis, but the man keeps coming with delightful and surprising refreshingness. When asked in an interview about American critics who characterized his apostolic exhortation Evangelii gaudium as "Marxist," Francis both deflected the insult to Marxist and returned fire with a zinger of his own.

"The Marxist ideology is wrong," Francis said of the criticism. "But I have met many Marxists in my life who are good people, so I don't feel offended." Points for distinguishing people, whom you love, with their ideas, which you might disagree with. And note that Francis said that Marxist "ideology" is wrong; most Christians would agree the materialism of Karl Marx is wrong. But what about the rest of his critique of capitalism?

The pope saves his best for his continuing criticism of trickle-down economics/Reaganomics, the economic religion of no small number of Americans: "The promise was that when the glass was full, it would overflow, benefiting the poor," Francis said. "What happens instead is that when the glass is full, it magically gets bigger, but nothing ever comes out for the poor." Given the legacy in this country not only of income inequality but the even worse problem of asset inequality, it's hard to argue that Francis is wrong on the facts. Of course, if you think it's OK for the few to enjoy largesse while that masses suffer with next to nothing, then fine. But that ain't the gospel--at least not according to Francis.