I’ll readily admit that I had largely bought the narrative that John Paul II grew more sympathetic to capitalism at the end of the Cold War and projected at least some of that sympathy into Centesimus Annus (even if the neocons were wrong to augment that sympathy into endorsement of American style late capitalism).
However, while reading John Allen’s The Francis Effect, I discovered two quotes from John Paul II in which he strongly and explicitly condemns capitalism. Allen points to a quote from 1993 (two years after Centesimus!) in which John Paul II said, “Catholic social teaching is not a surrogate for capitalist ideology…[which is] responsible for grave social injustices.”
Allen further notes quotes John Paul II as saying “the bourgeois mentality and capitalism as a whole, with its materialistic spirit acutely contradict the gospel.”
These very strong words further condemn the narrative that John Paul gave his blessing to American style capitalism that has been pedaled by Catholic neocons for two decades.
Apropos of John Paul II’s opposition to the second Iraq War, which Catholic neocons have unsuccessfully attempted to hide, I have found this gem from John Allen’s The Francis Miracle. Writing of Pope Francis’s successful prevention of an Obama war in Syria in 2013, Allen writes of “…John Paul II’s vain efforts to stop the Iraq offensive in 2003, which included dispatching personal envoys to both Sadaam Hussein and President George W. Bush in February and March of that year…”
So, who is misleading? John Allen or the neocons?
It has been well established that George Weigel and other less luminaries in the neoconservative movement cloaked John Paul II in an ideological veil that presented him as the pope of American liberalism. It is also more than clear that the neocons cannot control the image of Pope Francis who clearly self identifies as a political, economic, and theological leftist.
To whom does the banner of papal biographer fall?
Enter John Allen, Jr. Identified by many Catholic conservatives as a “moderate” or even soft conservative, Allen penned, in 2015, The Francis Miracle: Insider the Transformation of the Pope and the Church. This book is very curious. In it Allen seeks to prove that despite the seemingly very left wing statements and actions of Pope Francis, the current pontiff is, in fact, a “centrist.” Allen argues that there are no real liberals in the leadership of the Church–that is, no high ranking prelate really wants to change the teaching of the Church. There are just those who want to change the application of the Church’s teaching. Here is the typical post-Marxist theological distinction between theoria and praxis or theory and practice. Of course, Catholic teaching will never really change; however, certain practices may be tolerable even though the Church defines them as evil.
The question then is: who is John Allen trying to fool? His book is not written for leftists Catholics who know Francis is on their side and who have no problem with Church teaching changing, nor is the book written for traditionalists who by 2015 had figured Francis out.
The book is clearly written to shepherd deluded conservative Catholics who “want to believe” that Francis is merely a laid back and slightly more liberal version of John Paul II.
It is difficult to believe that John Allen is dumb enough to believe that Francis is a centrist even in 2015. Allen, like Weigel before him, has clearly been brought in to shape the image of Francis and delude the masses of Catholics into following his degenerate teaching.
Also, Time Books, a US intelligence asset, published The Francis Miracle.
Who does Allen work for?