Catholic Social Science Review

Volume 14, 2009

Joseph Anthony Burke
Pages 167-191

Pope Benedict on Capitalism, Marxism, and Globalization

This article presents some of Pope Benedict XVI’s thoughts on economic matters, drawing from his writings and speeches before and after his election to the Papacy. He has spoken on numerous occasions about Marxism, capitalism, and, more recently, globalization, which can be thought of as an extension of capitalism. While he is harshly critical of Marxism, his criticisms of capitalism are more moderate, though he maintains a number of reservations about it, and draws parallels between the two systems. In both Marxism and capitalism he sees an attempt to construct a social order on reason alone, and he contrasts this with a Catholic vision of the social order in which reason is united to virtue in the service of moral values. He is generally supportive of globalization, though he has expressed concern about its effects on families and on the poor, as well as its effects on inequality and monopoly power. (Ed. Note: It should be noted that this article was completed, and the current volume of the Review in production before Pope Benedict’s encyclical, Caritas in Veritate, was released.)