In a message to the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, Pope Francis makes clear that what really makes his blood boil is libertarianism:
Finally, I cannot but speak of the serious risks associated with the invasion, at high levels of culture and education in both universities and in schools, of positions of libertarian individualism. A common feature of this fallacious paradigm is that it minimizes the common good, that is, “living well”, a “good life” in the community framework, and exalts the selfish ideal that deceptively proposes a “beautiful life”. If individualism affirms that it is only the individual who gives value to things and interpersonal relationships, and so it is only the individual who decides what is good and what is bad, then libertarianism, today in fashion, preaches that to establish freedom and individual responsibility, it is necessary to resort to the idea of “self-causation”. Thus libertarian individualism denies the validity of the common good because on the one hand it supposes that the very idea of “common” implies the constriction of at least some individuals, and the other that the notion of “good” deprives freedom of its essence.
The radicalization of individualism in libertarian and therefore anti-social terms leads to the conclusion that everyone has the “right” to expand as far as his power allows, even at the expense of the exclusion and marginalization of the most vulnerable majority. Bonds would have to be cut inasmuch as they would limit freedom. By mistakenly matching the concept of “bond” to that of “constraint”, one ends up confusing what may condition freedom – the constraints – with the essence of created freedom, that is, bonds or relations, family and interpersonal, with the excluded and marginalized, with the common good, and finally with God.
Go here to read the rest. Of all the ideologies that the Pope could get upset about he has chosen the one that has never persecuted the Church, or anyone else for that matter, and that believes in voluntary exchanges and associations as the basis of society. There are plenty of critiques that could be made of libertarianism on practical grounds, but the idea that the Church should condemn it is absurd.
Why did the Pope decide to do so? Well, in the rest of his message he makes that obvious:
1. The first point I would like to bring to your attention is the now necessary broadening of the traditional notion of justice, which can not be restricted to judgment at the time of distribution of wealth, but must go further, to the moment of its production. It is not enough, that is, to claim the “just goods to the worker” as recommended by the Rerum novarum (1891). It is also necessary to ask whether or not the production process takes place with respect for the dignity of human labour; whether or not it accepts basic human rights; whether or not it is compatible with moral norms. In Gaudium et spes, (no. 67,) tells us: “The entire process of productive work, therefore, must be adapted to the needs of the person and to his way of life”. Labour is not merely a factor in production that, as such, has to adapt to the needs of the production process to increase its efficiency. On the contrary, it is the production process that must be organized in such a way as to enable the human growth of people and harmony between time for family and working life.
It is necessary to be convinced that such a project, in today’s post-industrial society, is feasible, as long as it is desired. That is why the Social Doctrine of the Church (SDC) insistently invites us to find ways to apply, in practice, fraternity as the governing principle of the economic order. Where other lines of thought speak only of solidarity, the SDC speaks instead of fraternity, since a fraternal society is also typified by solidarity, while the opposite is not always the case, as so many experiences confirm. The appeal, therefore, is to remedy the mistake of contemporary culture, which has led to the belief that a democratic society can progress by keeping separate the code of efficiency – which would be enough to regulate relationships between humans within the sphere of the economy – and the code of solidarity, which would regulate inter-subject relationships within the social sphere. It is this dichotomy that has impoverished our societies.
Translation from Pope speak: The State must control the economy for the good of society. That such control at best leads to economic stagnation and massive corruption and, at worst, leads to the most blood stained tyrannies that have ever existed on this planet, concerns the Pope not a whit since he is far above such practical mundane considerations. The Pope wants to bring about utopia on this planet and that cannot be done without State control and regimentation, or so the Pope clearly believes, and libertarianism, at least in theory, stands in the path of the world he wishes to bring about.
Anti-Catholic bigots always claim that Popes are enemies of human freedom. Alas in Pope Francis that old false canard is now a simple statement of fact. All Catholics who cherish human freedom must stand against this secular vision of the Pope, which is merely a repackaging in religious trappings of the leftist vision of the State controlling the economy.