(p. A19) The pope is not hostile to market mechanisms because he is a raving socialist, as some have suggested. Instead, his stance is a natural consequence of his theology.
To understand the pope’s position, remember that, even though he is adopting a progressive stance on the environment, he is not a liberal. Indeed, he rejects one of the central tenets of liberalism, which is a willingness to acknowledge genuine disagreement about the good.
The fundamental problem with markets, in Pope Francis’ view, is that they cater to people’s desires, whatever those desires happen to be. What makes the market a liberal institution is that it does not judge the relative merits of these desires. The customer is always right.
Pope Francis rejects this, describing it as part of a “culture of relativism.” The customer, in his view, is often wrong. He wants an economic system that satisfies not whatever desires people happen to have but the desires that they should have — a system that promotes the common good, according to the church’s specification of what that good is.
For the full commentary, see:
JOSEPH HEATH. “Pope Francis’ Climate Error.” The New York Times (Sat., JUNE 20, 2015): A19.
(Note: ellipses added.)
(Note: the online version of the commentary has the date JUNE 19, 2015.)