Pope Francis should be saving souls, not pocketbooks
What is the worst problem in the world today? Might it be war, starvation, genocide, sectarian violence, murder, slaughter of babies in the womb? Any of these would be a rational answer. When Pope Francis was asked this question recently, he replied, “Youth unemployment.”
To be sure, youth unemployment is a serious problem. In some parts of the United States, the richest country in the world, it has reached 25 percent. These are people who are no longer in school full time and are not yet 30 years of age. It is a problem for them and their families, for their communities and for the welfare states that are supporting them. Is it the worst problem in the world, though? Is it a problem for the Roman Catholic Church? Is it something the pope is competent to comment upon or to resolve?
The pope’s youth-unemployment comments recently were removed from the Vatican’s website. No sooner had that been done than the Holy Father issued his first encyclical — a formal papal teaching, as opposed to his now-famous, impromptu back-of-the-plane yet on-the-record comments.
His encyclical is about economics, and it reveals a disturbing ignorance. I say this with deference and respect. I also say this as a traditionalist Roman Catholic who laments the post-Vatican II watering down of sacred traditions, lessening of moral teaching and trivialization of liturgical practices. I also say this, though, as a firm believer that Pope Francis is the Vicar of Christ on Earth and, as such, personifies the teaching authority of the church. He is morally and juridically capable of speaking ex cathedra — that is, infallibly — but only after surveying and distilling traditional Church teachings and only on matters affecting faith and morals.
Thank God, so to speak, that his teaching authority is limited to faith and morals, because in matters of economics, he is wide of the mark. READ THE REST