Pope Francis sounded downright woke in parts of a newly released encyclical – railing against free market, private property, racism and social injustice – but he couldn’t get through the title without offending some observers.
Francis said the Covid-19 pandemic proved that free-market policies have failed to produce the societal benefits promised by their proponents. “The marketplace, by itself, cannot resolve every problem, however much we are asked to believe this dogma of neoliberal faith,” the pope wrote in his third encyclical, called “Fratelli Tutti,” to all Catholic bishops.
So-called “trickle-down” economics fails to create the promised “spillover” that resolves inequality, giving rise to “new forms of violence threatening the fabric of society,” Francis said. It’s imperative to adopt economic policies that favor “productive diversity and business creativity,” thereby creating lasting jobs, he added.
“The fragility of world systems in the face of the pandemic has demonstrated that not everything can be resolved by market freedom,” Francis said. Countries must recover a “sound political life” not dominated by financial speculators, he said, and “we must put human dignity back at the center and on that pillar build the alternative social structures we need.”