Why the Pope’s Social Justice Agenda Hurts the Poor

By George Hewes

As Pope Francis’ trip to America draws near, people need to understand that his agenda is more political and leftist than any of his recent predecessors. While previous popes have touched on familiar themes like helping the poor and the sanctity of life, Francis has pushed economic redistribution theory as a panacea for global poverty to the extreme. In doing this, Francis demonstrates that he has a poor grasp of history and his ideas are sure to keep millions in poverty instead of lifting them up.

That most people see Pope Francis as a wise man and a scholar makes it all the more disappointing that he has apparently thrown in with the radical left in embracing their ideas about class warfare and social justice. In a 2013 speech to the Food Agricultural Organization he said the following:

“A way has to be found to enable everyone to benefit from the fruits of the earth, and not simply to close the gap between the affluent and those who must be satisfied with the crumbs falling from the table, but above all to satisfy the demands of justice, fairness and respect for every human being.”

Good grief. That speech could have been given by a filthy, pot-smoking Columbia grad student at an Occupy Wall Street rally. Whenever leftists start lecturing us about “fairness,” hold onto your wallet. The fundamental problem with people of this ilk is that the assume there is only one road to helping the poor: entrusting the job to bloated, corrupt governments that will take money through confiscatory tax rates and guarantee that the poor will stay that way by making them dependent on government handouts for life. The U.S. has spent trillions on the “War on Poverty” over the last six decades and barely moved the needle on reducing poverty. It is still a mystery why liberals have so much faith in the ability of Big Government to solve society’s problems when its track record is so atrocious.

While the Pope is fond of quoting scripture and parables to make his point, someone should remind him about the one that says give a man a fish, feed him for a day; teach him how to fish and feed him for life. Wouldn’t it be more worthwhile to increase economic activity that would create more jobs and give the poor some self-respect by earning their own living instead of depending on the generosity of others? Why live off crumbs falling from the table when you can earn money and buy your own bread? Making the affluent feel guilty for their largesse may warm the hearts of the class warriors, but it does nothing to help the poor.

Pope Francis’ other pet projects have been climate change and immigration, which are also chic issues of the left in America. If there is one action that will have disastrous consequences for the poor, it is destroying economies by spending billions of dollars on highly questionable climate change theories. Even supporters of climate change legislation admit that massive expenditures will have little to no effect on global temperatures. Fleecing businesses with outrageous environmental regulations will only serve to make jobs for the poor more scarce. Climate change remedies will also create cost increases for basics like utilities, food and fuel that will disproportionately affect the poor.

The feel-good idea of open borders and amnesty for all would also have disastrous consequences for the poor. We are told that those coming into the U.S. from the south are the most noble, hard-working people in the world. If all those people flee, say, Mexico, what kind of country is left for the poor souls who would remain in their home country? Seems like they would be doomed to lifelong poverty as their country would continue to spiral downward. By importing waves of poor and uneducated immigrants, the United States is beginning to buckle under the weight of the social services costs that come with them. If the U.S. economy continues to degrade, the land of milk and honey that immigrants sought will be ancient history. Poor people will continue to be poor, just in a different country.

Because of his hard-left positions, Pope Francis has been feted by a liberal media in the U.S. that has previously been hostile to the Catholic Church. He will no doubt get rock star treatment during his U.S. visit, but someone might want to ask him about his misguided allegiance to the same old remedies to help the poor that have a perfect track record of failure.

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