Recently, Pope Francis embarked on a much publicized trip to the South American country of Bolivia. According to the CIA World Factbook, Bolivia remains one of the least developed nations on the continent, because of "state-oriented policies that deter investment and growth". Bolivia's unfriendliness to private enterprise can be attributed to a period of instability in the early 2000s and the state seizure of energy firms in 2005. Incidentally, Bolivia is a resource-rich country with an abundance of natural gas.
Upon the arrival of the Pontifex, Bolivian president Evo Morales gifted the religious leader with a hammer-and-sickle, a symbol of communism, with Jesus Christ nailed to it. The mask is gone, and the leader of the impoverished South American country is openly glorifying the system which wreaked havoc on his homeland. The crucifix seems to be only the latest installment in a series of misinterpretations of the political views of Jesus. For many years revisionists and revolutionaries have used Jesus' traits of generosity, compliance to pay taxes, and defiance of government as proof that Jesus was a socialist and if he were alive today would likely be that suspicious looking fellow at the subway station with a mysterious ticking briefcase.
Despite all of the fallacious claims and false equivalencies, many Christians (or people using Christianity as a power acquisition mechanism) have bought into the claim that Jesus was a socialist. Apparently even the Pope himself has been bamboozled, gladly accepting the gift instead of tossing the icon onto the ground and/or defecating on it like a true representative of traditional western values and Christianity would do. Even more alarming is the contents of his speech to the destitute and malnourished masses of Bolivia, stating that capitalism is the "dung of the devil", and implicitly promoting socialism.
It takes gall to tell people that the sole cause of all of their problems is doctrinal, moral, and holy, while decrying the only economic system that promotes individual freedom and creativity as Satanic. Pope Francis is telling the suffering folks of Bolivia that the oppressive economic system imposed by their state is good. He might as well have said: "Poverty is good" or "Your conditions right now are optimal". This socialist sycophantism is certainly a far cry from Pope Leo XIII's exegesis on socialism, describing it as a "deadly plague" which seeks to "overthrow all civil society whatsoever".
Aside from this, it is curious as to why the Pope is praising socialism on the continent where the dichotomy between the success of free enterprise and the failure of socialism is (arguably) most evident. Take for example the juxtaposition of Chile and Venezuela. Chile embraced private enterprise and as a result is one of South America's most stable and prosperous nations, leading Latin American nations in competitiveness, income per capita, economic freedom, and low perception of corruption. Venezuela, however, believed the socialist narrative and thusly received her just recompense; in the form of an absolutely deplorable state of financial freedom. Even with its abundance of petroleum, Venezuelans struggle to buy even toilet paper.
Since Pope Francis has touted himself as an ultra-progressive, hip, kind, and considerate Pope, why in God's name isn't he promoting capitalism? Instead of suggesting Jesus would be a socialist, he should have encouraged individuals to earn a living easily and to flourish in an environment where creativity and prosperity would be accepted. Instead of telling the poor Bolivians that capitalism is the reason for their woes, he should have pointed towards countries like Chile, which have embraced economic freedom and are now strong, rather than empowering the Bolivians to wallow in their filthy socialist pigsty.
Until then, this current Pope remains a dangerous man, whose intentions are solely to subvert the only financial system which has borne any success and liberty.