In a recent CNBC.com piece on the economic impact of statements from Pope Francis on the free market economy, Mathew Schmalz, associate professor of religious studies at the College of the Holy Cross, weighed in on some of the thinking behind these statements.
Although surprising, the pope’s comments on global economics are in line with his personal thinking, said Schmalz. “Being a Jesuit priest and having spent so much time in Argentina as bishop and cardinal had a great effect on him,” he said. “He’s seen a lot of poverty close up and raised the issue in Argentina before becoming pope.”
He continued the conversation on CNBC’s “The Kudlow Report,” discussing the pope’s view on free market and capitalism systems. “I think the question is whether in one sense we can develop a free market that respects human dignity and human rights,” said Schmalz. “I think what Francis is forcing us to do is ask tough questions about whether we need or think we need especially when people are living in slums and going hungry.”
Schmalz also highlighted the role of Pope Francis when commenting on markets and economic decisions, saying that he expected to continue hearing “very general pronouncements about values and how they should shape economic activity, but not a lot about specifics, what we should do with our 401(k)s and so forth.”