While Mr Winters writes for the NCR, this article on the pope is well worth your time:
‘The new pope’s critique of the current world economy has left conservative Catholic commentators in something of a bind. For years, they have denounced “cafeteria Catholics” on the left, those who differ with the Church on issues such as same-sex marriage or abortion rights. Now, it is these conservatives who need to either change their public policy positions or stand in the cafeteria line. “Before, Catholic economic conservatives like George Weigel and Robert Sirico could pretend that Vatican apparatchiks were smuggling traditional anti-capitalist language into papal pronouncements,” says Trinity College’s Mark Silk, who serves on the editorial board of Religion & Politics. “But no one can doubt that this language comes straight from Pope Francis’ heart. That’s what’s freaking the conservatives out.”
To be clear, Weigel, Sirico and other Catholic conservatives have been pretending for some time. When Benedict issued Caritas in Veritate in 2009, Weigel famously suggested reading the text with red and gold pens, excising those parts he attributed to the Vatican bureaucracy and with which he and other Catholic neo-cons objected. And, Father Sirico’s latest book, Defending the Free Market: The Moral Case for a Free Economy, stands in opposition to more than 100 years of papal social teaching in its championing of laissez-faire policies.
Pope Benedict was not shy about voicing his concerns about the world economy. In his last World Day of Peace message, issued on January 1 of this year, Pope Benedict condemned “a selfish and individualistic mindset which also finds expression in an unregulated financial capitalism,” which he lumped together with terrorism and international crime as threats to world peace. Pope Francis is building on what was said by his predecessors going all the way back to Pope Leo XIII in the late nineteenth century. What is different about Francis is not the content of the teaching, but the directness of his style.’