To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle. ― George Orwell
Whether motivated by honest confusion, a sense of embarrassment, or a desire to misrepresent it is hard to say, but much of the public commentary on Evangelii Gaudium (EG), Pope Francis’ recent Apostolic Exhortation, is considerably wide of the mark. By Francis’ own admission, the economic statements in EG line up with the historic economic teaching of the Roman Catholic Church-State, but many commentators today, especially if they happen to be economically conservative Catholics, seem shocked and dismayed by the document’s blatantly anti-capitalist language. “The pope didn’t really mean to attack capitalism, only is abuses,” or, “the pope isn’t talking about the United States,” they are wont to say. But the history of Rome is against them. In fact, given Rome’s long-standing hatred of free markets and free men, it is safe to say that the pope without a doubt intended to attack capitalism and most certainly had in mind the United States when he made his comments. It’s simply a case of Rome being Rome. Unfortunately most Americans, and perhaps most especially most American Evangelicals, are ignorant of both Biblical economics and Rome’s longstanding war against it. And being ignorant of Rome’s doctrines on this subject, they are easy targets for propaganda campaigns designed to mislead them about the principles, history and ultimate intentions of Roman Catholic social teaching.