Industrialist: Francis Is The Most Anti-Capitalist Pope In Decades

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Michael Bastasch DCNF Managing Editor
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Pope Francis has kicked off his first visit to the U.S., and already media stories are circulating about the pontiff’s supposedly anti-capitalist remarks.

But one author has pointed out that Francis’ views continue what the Catholic Church has been preaching for decades. Alex Epstein, founder of the Center for Industrial Progress, argues the pope’s comments on issues from industrialization to global warming continue the anti-capitalist bent of the greater church.

“This is not an institution that has supported capitalism,” Epstein, who wrote the book “The Moral Case For Fossil Fuels,” told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “It’s wrong and misleading for people to say this pope has deviated from this pro-capitalism path. But this pope is probably the worse.”

Epstein said popes have been critical of capitalism for decades, pointing to Pope Paul VI’s 1967 encyclical “Populorum Progressio,” which the author argued contains comments “about how capitalism is a system we need to get rid of.”

Pope Francis angered conservative Catholics earlier this year when he published an encyclical blaming mankind for global warming and backing a global agreement to cut carbon dioxide emissions. Francis wrote that the “earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth.”

“There are regions now at high risk and, aside from all doomsday predictions, the present world system is certainly unsustainable from a number of points of view, for we have stopped thinking about the goals of human activity,” Francis wrote in his encyclical critical of industrialized societies for causing global warming.

“He just looking at the negatives,” Epstein said. “The slant of his focus is not human well-being, it’s this idea of untouched nature.”

“Everything that the pope is saying on the climate issue is very much lockstep with the establishment view that fossil fuel use has no unique positives and only catastrophic negatives. From that view if you had a climate catastrophe it would affect the poor,” he added.

Francis’ encyclical was welcomed by Democrats and environmentalists who want the U.S. to phase out fossil fuels and replace them with green energy sources like solar and wind — despite the drawbacks of such technology. But Epstein argues that fossil fuels have lifted billions of people out of abject poverty.

“The more fossil fuels they have, the more wealth and infrastructure they have,” he told TheDCNF. “If you can plug more fossil fuel use into society there will be fewer poor people.”

“I think people should recognize the reality that humanity requires in terms of fossil fuel use and they should not get in the way of that,” he added.

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