Pope Francis regularly speaks on issues he is completely clueless about. In this case, the free market. This old socialist politician who now holds the Throne of St. Peter is an embarrassment to Roman Catholics, and this writer is one, and to anyone else who has read any modern history.

They know, as opposed to this chuffed up cleric, that the free market has been the prime vehicle out of poverty for billions of people. It has also put more than a bit of coin in church coffers. Hypocrisy anyone? Father Robert Sirico decries the pope’s ignorance.

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Sirico: How do we feed the hungry? It’s a question Pope Francis brought to the forefront on World Food Day in a series of tweets. “The fight against hunger demands we overcome the cold logic of the market,” the pope tweeted, “which is greedily focused on mere economic profit and the reduction of food to a commodity, and strengthening the logic of solidarity.”

But without a market, how do we feed anyone Yes, the Christian community must call for human nourishment. But the pope’s anti-market message leaves many wondering how food to nourish the hungry will be produced. Pope Francis’s message juxtaposes two contrasting approaches to the scandal of hunger: one expresses such solidarity and another builds businesses that attempt to meet the needs of hungry people.

In Matthew 21:28-32, Jesus poses a dilemma to the religious leaders of his day. It is the story of a father who sends two sons into his vineyard to work. The first declines the command, but changes his mind and goes out to the vineyard. The second promptly replies that he will work, but never does.

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Jesus asks: Which son did the will of the father? Of course, it is the first son—the one who accomplished what his father commanded. The underlying effect of the text is to marginalize the religious leaders of his day who professed to be accomplishing the word of God, but who never did the work. Jesus’s indictment is clear: To his mind, it was the very marginalized ones—”the tax collectors and the prostitutes (might we include capitalists here?)”—who are entering the kingdom of God ahead of the pious do-gooders professing God’s mission.

All this came flooding into my mind as I read the pope’s words decrying the very market system that feeds more hungry people today than ever before in the history of the world. The pope speaks of the “cold logic of the market” which he associates with a greedy focus on “mere economic profit” and the reduction of “food to a commodity.”…

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As a priest, I am bewildered when my colleagues (even the pope), out of great moral intention no doubt, nonetheless insist on making an enemy of the very institution that has and can continue to be the most effective tool to fight hunger and poverty—the free market.