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Economics

How Pope Francis Misunderstands the Free Market

Dec. 16 (Bloomberg) -- In its cover story on the “Person of the Year,” Time magazine contrasts Pope Francis’s background with that of his two most recent predecessors: “John Paul II and Benedict XVI were professors of theology. Francis is a former janitor, nightclub bouncer, chemical technician and literature teacher.”

The point can be extended further. Every pope from 1914 to 1978 had Vatican diplomatic or bureaucratic experience, and so our understanding of the papacy has been shaped by diplomats, bureaucrats and scholars. That Francis has instead been first and foremost a pastor has undoubtedly contributed to his powerful charisma. It’s part of why he has quickly become popular around the world and, as Time puts it, “captured the imagination of millions who had given up on hoping for the church at all.” He is a pastor, moreover, who fairly radiates holiness.