How to explain a Pope who boasts of his mentor being a communist? Who smuggled leftist literature into his sanctuary when he was merely a priest in his native Argentina? Who talks about American capitalism in terms more extreme than does Bernie Sanders and with equal ignorance? George Neumayr in his new book, The Political Pope, with immense erudition and elegant prose, tells us the whole story of Father Jorge Mario Bergoglio’s rise from Argentine cleric to become Pope Francis.
When George told me he was going to undertake this book I was full of doubts. Fr. Bergoglio could not be as ignorant as George said the Pontiff was. Surely as Pope of the Roman Catholic Church, the Church that comfortably entertained John Paul II, Francis would be more prudent. Well, George has put it all together. This Pope is the most leftwing Pope since the term was invented.
After reading the book — as I encourage you to read the book — I walked away convinced that George has taken the measure of the man. But I would append an addition to George’s explanation of the Pope’s disrelish for the only economic tool we have for ameliorating poverty, capitalism. It is this. Latin America in many places reviles the impoverished. The people are unspeakably cruel to the poor. Often the better off will not lift a finger for them.
This is my explanation for how the impoverished suffer in so many places throughout Latin America. One can sense the cruelty to the poor in reading George’s book. But the answer is not communism or socialism. It is capitalism.
In America we do have a regard for the suffering of the poor. No one reviles the poor and in fact we have elaborate programs to ease their suffering. The programs often lengthen their suffering by condemning the poor to prolonged unemployment and dependence, but that is not our intent.
Pope Francis is very proud of his left-wing friends and mentors. A better choice of mentors would be von Mises and Hayek. Order The Political Pope. I give it four stars.
Edgar Jiménez from Porto, Portugal/Creative Commons