As with almost all of my fellow Catholics, I’m awaiting Pope Francis’ arrival this week with Christmas-morning type anticipation. This relatively new pope is maybe the most popular man on the planet as he spreads the core Christian message of loving thy neighbor and caring for the least among us.
He is an apostle of hope and virtue and he comes at a perfect time when so many millions of Americans are mesmerized by false idols like ego-maniac Donald Trump.
A national publication recently labeled me one of Francis’ four severest Catholic critics, along with people like Ken Langone, a founder of Home Depot. My critique has been over the Vatican’s alliance of late with anti-Christian environmental groups on global warming and his recent encyclical letter attacking free market capitalism — which he says (sic) leads to “poverty and income inequality.”
This is arguably the man on earth closest to God, but even he can’t empower governments to change the Earth’s temperature. Faith can move mountains but to expect Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi to stop the rise of the oceans would be a miracle of epic proportions.
My profoundest prayer is that the pope’s mission on his visit is to save souls, not the planet, and here are four messages that I hope he communicates to the American people:
1) The moral crisis of our time is not global warming, it is the holocaust of millions of abortions in America each year. If the pope can help change the hearts and minds of Americans on this issue, and reinforce the sanctity of every human life, he will have done more good for humanity than 1,000 Kyoto Treaties.
2) Free markets create wealth and it is the moral responsibility of all Christians to use our wealth in ways that help those most in need. As we look around the world, it is inarguable that socialistic economic models — from Francis’ native Argentina to Greece — are crumbling right before our very eyes and making people poorer. A recent Heritage Foundation study finds that free markets are by far best tool to reduce poverty. High taxes, trade barriers, big welfare states may be well-intentioned, but they make the poor poorer.
3) A benevolent government should enhance individual liberty, religious freedom, and wealth.
The pope recently made this declaration, “Some people continue to defend trickle-down theories, which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world … This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naive trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system.”
Much of this is wrong and the pope will do great harm if he repeats this message when he comes to America. Can unbridled capitalism lead to too much centralized power? Absolutely. But the people who believe with a “crude and naive trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power” are the communists and the socialists. Pope John Paul II understood this implicitly — in part because he lived under totalitarianism.
In his zeal to rein in excesses of capitalism, Francis must not advocate putting more power into the hands of statist oppressors. Lenin, Mao, Castro, and Pol Pot all promised that they stood with the working class and they were some of the greatest oppressors of the poor and butchers of Christians in history.
4) Christians must worship the Creator not the created.
The pope’s alliance with radical green environmentalists is unsettling to say the least. The green movement has a satanic track record when it comes to promoting human life and dignity. These are the people whose radical “earth first” theology gave us the barbaric and anti-life one child policy in China and population control measures like forced abortions and mass sterilizations in places like Egypt, India and Africa. It would be helpful for the pope to distance Christians from their pagan values.
God gave man dominion over this planet and the pope is right to caution that we have a moral obligation to be good custodians for future generations. But the primacy of every single human life must come before saving polar bears and trees. Free market capitalism promotes environmental improvement.
We as Catholics are blessed with a pope that is this generation’s greatest communicator. His visit and his words can help inspire each of us to make America great and good again — a shining city on a hill. Francis, please give us hope and change.
• Stephen Moore is a Fox News contributor and an economic consultant with Freedom Works.