ROME (ChurchMilitant.com) - A distinguished Italian economist is deriding Pope Francis' encyclical Fratelli Tutti as "not at all inspired by the thought of St. Francis of Assisi, but rather by the satirical novel Utopia by St. Thomas More."
"But St. Thomas More, writing Utopia, was joking, he was not serious," quips Professor Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, a contributor to Pope Benedict XVI's encyclical Caritas in Veritate and former president of the Vatican Bank.
Speaking in Rome Wednesday at a conference called "Poveri Tutti" (All Paupers) — a title parodying Francis' Fratelli Tutti — Tedeschi argued that "economics is not a science" and "the economy is but a tool that should serve to satisfy human needs."
However, "for this very reason it can be used to not satisfy them, but rather to terrify and influence," he observed.
When economics is used for "political" purposes, it can be tempted into creating utopias. If economics is used for "moral" purposes and invents utopias that are incorporated into the Magisterium of the Church, there is a risk these utopias could become heresies.
All this is in stark contrast with Pope Benedict's Caritas in Veritate, which teaches that when things don't work, it is not the tools that need to be changed but the heart of man. If, instead of the conversion of man the Church proposes utopias, we can expect to become "All Paupers" — both economically and spiritually.
Juan Miguel Montes, director of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP), Rome, who organized the conference, told Church Militant that "Poveri Tutti hopes to expose both the absurdities and the dangers of Fratelli Tutti."
"The encyclical has been accused of indulging in a fatuous fantasy, attempting to create a man-made utopia as a substitute for the Kingdom of God. This is absurd and dangerous because history teaches us that such attempts have always failed disastrously, resulting in not in utopias but in gulags," Montes warned.
"Theologically, this can also lead to doctrinal heresies if it implies the denial and/or contempt of private property that is based on the Seventh and Tenth Commandments. Economically, it will turn us all into beggars — socialist utopianism has demonstrated this amply," he stressed.
In an earlier article, Tedeschi explained how reading Pope Francis' encyclical reminded him of the fictional world imagined by St. Thomas More "in which private property is abolished, citizens have neither goods nor money, everything is shared and the very idea of commerce is outdated."
"All religions are welcomed on the island, but the most widespread cult is to nature," and "the divinity identified with nature is Mithras, dear to the Gnostics," Tedeschi remarked.
"Pope Francis only mentions St. Francis in his encyclical, but celebrates Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King — thus focusing on changing structures rather than personal conversion," Tedeschi noted.
Other speakers at the Poveri Tutti conference alerted Catholics to the perils of Pope Francis' eco-theology.
Riccardo Cascioli, editor-in-chief of La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana, slammed Francis for plagiarizing the ecological leitmotif of the environmentalist Left.
"This ecology implies an anthropological turning point which consists in the fact that man conceives himself within a larger 'living community,' thus losing his ontological specificity," Cascioli lamented.
He explained that even in the Catholic world, for a long time "environmental imbalances have been blamed on Judeo-Christian anthropocentrism, accusing it of justifying the plundering of the earth's resources, which instead belongs to all creatures," he observed.
In reality, this is a distorted vision of Catholic thought. Recognizing that man is the apex of creation, the only living being created in the image and likeness of God, means above all that the key to balance lies in the relationship between man and God. When this relationship is lived correctly, according to Christian Revelation, the relationship with the rest of creation also becomes healthy.
Other conference speakers hammered home the economic fallacies promoted by the current pontificate.
Professor Julio Loredo, director of TFP Milan, explained how communism is designed to induce indolence:
Outside of the privileged few of the nomenklatura, no one has the right to a greater well-being in accordance with the systematic quantitative and qualitative increase in one's commitment. This is due to the totalitarian principle of equality: No one can have more than the other, so as not to produce any sort of "alienation." And the only way for everyone to be equal is for everyone to be poor — all poor, all equal.
This egalitarianism is the key to understanding Pope Francis' latest encyclical and, presumably, the international event "The Economy of Francesco," starting tomorrow. Poverty is the means. The goal is egalitarianism.
This glorification of indolence is proper to socialism and communism, not to Christian civilization and the social doctrine of the Church.
Economist Stefano Fontana criticized Fratelli Tutti for its misuse of the concept of "brotherhood," arguing that using it as a vehicle of interreligious dialogue in the Abu Dhabi declaration had resulted in a radical discontinuity with the social doctrine of the Church.
Leading intellectuals are increasingly critical of Pope Francis for his left-wing economic and political positions.
In a Monday interview, novelist Mario Vargas Llosa, who won the 2010 Nobel Prize for literature, blasted Pope Francis as "a Peronist."
"For many Latin Americans like me, he is a pope who favors the extreme Left," Llosa told La Stampa.
"There are many of us who think this way. Today the Catholic Church no longer has the influence it once did, and I don't think this pope will have much impact. I think that the experience of a Peronist pope will be fleeting and that after the Church will recover its true conservative tradition," Llosa remarked.
Over 500 people participated in the conference which was moderated by Federico Catani from the Italian TFP, who warned of the utopian vision of Fratelli Tutti and the "Economy of Francesco" resulting in a dystopia. Catani alerted the audience to the "Great Reset" which was being engineered under cover of the Wuhan virus pandemic.