10:13 a.m. July 25, 2013

Pope Francis' Socialism Of Fools

Like a pre-modern George Monbiot, Pope Francis has once again lambasted capitalism. And like Monbiot and his ilk, he is lambasting precisely the wrong parts of capitalism: the good bits.

Speaking at a mass in Brazil, Francis bemoaned materialism: "It is true that nowadays, to some extent, everyone, including our young people, feels attracted by the many idols which take the place of God and appear to offer hope: money, success, power, pleasure," he said. "Often a growing sense of loneliness and emptiness in the hearts of many people leads them to seek satisfaction in these ephemeral idols."

Moralising love of poverty—or stringbeans in the case of Georgey—is often mixed-up with economics. But then, as an NSFWCORP subscriber you already knew that, right?

There's nothing new under the sun. Hilaire Belloc found Catholicism a romantic refuge from hated modernity. Today environmentalism and several strains of decadent leftism fill the same niche, so it's not just the case of the pope jumping on a bandwagon. The socialism of fools has always been with us. Ask August Bebel.

Back in Rome, rumour has it that Frankie's austerity measures aren't going down well with some in the Vatican, which should put an end to claims that the place isn't a sovereign state—after all, its politics are now identical to those across Europe.

Mind you, with unemployment in Ireland now at a fifth of the population, and a quarter in Spain and Greece the Vatican's austerity measures probably pale in comparison. No more Fabergé egg omelettes in the staff canteen?