Reply To: Pope Francis


Hello jthomp76,

Here are a couple of thoughts.

1. The Pope’s Apostolic Exhortation is a document written to provide principles of promoting the Joy of the Gospel. It is not intended to endorse any specific public policies regarding economics. In paragraphs 53-60 of the document, to which most of the comments come from that you are hearing, the Pope expresses concerns that the poor and disadvantaged become excluded. In these paragraphs, some general criticism of the “current markets as the sole solution” mentality is criticized, but one can hardly interpret this as an overall distaste for the market economy. In fact, it seems more logical and contextual that the Pope is criticizing the mentality that the rich and the faithful don’t need to step in, because the market by itself can handle everything. Such indifference would be in blatant contradiction to a Catholic’s obligation toward his fellow man.

2. If the Pope did have specific policy in mind, such as raising the minimum wage of all workers to $15, this is judgment based on economic principles wherein the Pope is not purported to have special insight or expertise. Dr. Woods brings this point out in many articles and explains how economic science is a value-neutral enterprise and the Church possesses no special ability to rule on economic law. (See Dr. Woods article here:

3. Consider any argument made by a Churchman of the form: “If X is implemented, then Y will happen. Catholics are obliged to support Y. Therefore, Catholics are obliged to endorse X.” Any Catholic can, in good conscience, deny the conclusion by denying the statement that “X implies Y”. Notice, he is not dissenting from moral teaching to deny “X implies Y” since that statement is essentially value-neutral.

Just some thoughts based on what I have read in the past form Dr. Woods.

John D.