With so much hubub centered around the comments the Holy Father wrote about “trickle-down” economics in Evangelii Gaudium, the entire population, including Catholics, have ignored some excellent points from the exhortation. In Section II, Pope Francis explains that, “Every authentic experience of truth and goodness seeks by its very nature to grow within us, and any person who has experienced a profound liberation becomes more sensitive to the needs of others.” This is a beautiful truth that can be shared across the religious spectrum and is no doubt why this pope in particular is gaining so many admirers from the non-Catholic Christians brethren and even the non-religious.
He’s funny also. In the same section, he says, “…an evangelizer must never look like someone who has just come back from a funeral!” Later he acknowledges the proclivity of some pastors to ramble on in less-than-inspirational homilies: “We know that the faithful attach great importance to it, and that both they and their ordained ministers suffer because of homilies: the laity from having to listen to them and the clergy from having to preach them!”
There’s no escaping the controversial section on economics, however, and I cannot see it any other way than the Pope criticizing the free market. Of course, he’s right when he says that the free-market alone doesn’t lead to a holy society, but I don’t think anyone is claiming that. What the free market does exponentially better than the alternative statist, socialist, or centralized economies is distribute wealth in the most effective and efficient way possible and has brought more people out of poverty than any other institution on Earth, including the Church.
In Evangelii Gaudium, the Holy Father offers readers a wonderful exhortation from which anyone, Catholic or otherwise, can garner wisdom. Despite the glaring flaw in his economic terminology, this is an excellent read.