A number of theologians took aim at Timothy Cardinal Dolan’s defense of free markets and his warning about the dangers of collectivism’s inherent violation of human rights.
Cdl. Dolan wrote, “the answer to problems with the free market is not to reject economic liberty in favor of government control. The church has consistently rejected coercive systems of socialism and collectivism, because they violate inherent human rights to economic freedom and private property. When properly regulated, a free market can certainly foster greater productivity and prosperity.”
Charles J. Reid, Jr., Professor of Law at the University of St. Thomas responded in the Huffington Post that Cardinal Timothy Dolan “misunderstands Church teaching on both economics and the role of the state.”
Reid labeled the free market a “sociopathic economy” and said that only “a reinvigorated state would bring to bear in the regulation of the marketplace a set of humane values” and “rebalance the marketplace so as to fairly serve the interests not of capital alone, but of all employees and all interested human beings. “
Joseph A. McCartin, director of the Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor at Georgetown University reportedly criticized Cdl. Dolan, saying “It is a shame that the Cardinal seems more interested in making Pope Francis’ statements seem less threatening to free-market-celebrating Americans than he is in applying the Pope’s critique to the American scene as it really exists.”
In the same piece in the National Catholic Reporter, Fr. Drew Christiansen S.J., professor of ethics and global human development at Georgetown University, also had some pointed remarks aimed at Cdl. Dolan. “Cardinal Dolan misses what Pope Francis sees so clearly,” he reportedly said. “The growth of inequality everywhere including the U.S. is a result of American-style capitalism and the financialization of the economy.”
He added pointedly that he believed, “too many well-to-do Catholics prefer getting their economic ethics from the Acton Institute rather than the Vatican.”
John Gehring, Catholic program director at Faith in Public Life, reportedly said Dolan’s arguments “provide moral cover to free-market fundamentalists and anti-government zealots who preach a gospel of radical individualism that Catholic teaching rejects. Furthermore, he said “the cardinal veers close to echoing GOP talking points.”
Professor Mark Allman, chair of Religious & Theological Studies Department at Merrimack College, reportedly said Dolan’s piece “reflects a heavily individualistic understanding of morality.” He bemoaned that “there’s no mention of the need for structural change.”
And you wonder why so many kids come out of Catholic colleges as progressives.