On November 30, 2013, Ross Douthat offered a thoughtful reflection in the New York Times entitled “The Pope and the Right” in which he considered how politically and economically conservative U.S. Catholics might respond to the economic vision articulated by Pope Francis in his apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium. Although a critique of this particular article might prima facie seem limited in scope, such an analysis in fact highlights the concepts of fundamental values, root paradigms and “global pre-scientific convictions” in a way that can contribute to broader questions and assessments of Catholic responses to Evangelii Gaudium in particular and Pope Francis in general.
Four years ago, I was an idealistic college student who believed in change. Frustrated with the years of Bush-style imperialism and capitalism, I was ready for some big government and the return of civil liberties, singing the doxology Praise God From Whom all Blessings Flow as balloons reigned down and Obama waxed eloquent on a stage overlooking thousands of people. Needless to say, I have learned my lesson over the last four years. Although a less harmful sovereign, Obama turned out to be—surprise, surprise—a neo-liberal. The problem, however, was not with Obama, it was with me….