"Pope Francis is not anti-market, but he reminds us a profit-first mindset creates a throwaway culture," said Gehring. "He is a Catholic, not a Marxist. Catholic social teaching emphasizes the markets must serve the common good."
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The principles of Roman Catholic social teaching came together formally in the 19th century when Pope Leo XIII wrote of the importance of paying workers a living wage. It is a view embraced by U.S. Catholic bishops and Francis' predecessors, including Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II.
With Francis' message clearly one aimed at reorienting the church's mission as serving the poor, he has been frank, and, to some, unjustly critical of a global economy he sees as disregarding the vulnerable.
Francis has called consumerism a "great danger" and has said there is little evidence of the benefits of trickle-down economics to those at the lowest rung on the economic ladder. In a speech in Bolivia, the Argentina-born pope quoted Basil of Caesarea calling the unfettered pursuit of money "the dung of the devil."
More recently, in second his papal encyclical "Laudato Si" ("Be Praised"), he criticized the harm the economy is having on the environment, which he has described one of God's gifts the faithful are called to protect.
"Here too, it should always be kept in mind that environmental protection cannot be assured solely on the basis of financial calculations of costs and benefits. The environment is one of those goods that cannot be adequately safeguarded or promoted by market forces," he wrote.
For some, it might be easy to put Francis in the anti-business box but to do so would be wrong, said the Rev. Manuel Dorantes S.T.L., a Vatican spokesman based in Chicago.
"He is not anti-capitalist, but it seems that we live in a society where you can't questions capitalism, because if you do then you're excluded and you're a socialist," said Dorantes.