Er...no! But a little known work by Karol Wojtyla confirms that the neo-con view that he was a champion of unfettered capitalism always was a bit of a fantasy.
The Zycie Warszawy newspaper is accusing the John Paul II Institute in Lublin, south east Poland, of attempting to “censor the pope” by withholding a text written in 1953/4 - Katolicka Etyka Spoleczna (Catholic Social Ethics) - from the late Pope’s Polish beatification tribunal, which ended April 1 after just five months’ work.
In the text, Wojtyla traces communism back to Christian tradition. One section is subtitled, “The Objective Superiority of the Communist Ideal.” In it he says:
“In line with patristic traditions and the centuries-old practice of monastic life, the church itself acknowledges the ideal of communism. But it believes, given the current state of human nature, that the general implementation of this ideal -- while protecting the human person’s complete freedom -- faces insurmountable difficulties.”
“Class struggle should gain strength in proportion to the resistance it faces from economically privileged classes, so the systemic social situation will mature under this pressure to the appropriate forms and transitions.”
….….The church is aware that the bourgeois mentality and capitalism as a whole, with its materialist spirit, acutely contradict the Gospel.”
According to respected religious correspondent, Johnathan Luxmoore, who worked in Warsaw for ten years and broke the story of the ‘forgotten text’ last January:
‘The text contradicts views promoted by neoconservative thinkers who depict the pontiff as a lifelong fan of U.S.- style liberal capitalism. It also raises questions of why, when every detail of Wojtyla’s life has been combed over by researchers and biographers, mention of this 511-page work has apparently been avoided.
[The text] shows Wojtyla had acquired by his early 30s a sophisticated knowledge of Marxism and an empathy with its critique of capitalist injustices. It shows he had already rejected both “socialist totalism” and “individualistic liberalism” as prerequisites for a well-organized society.’
When communism ended in 1989 in Poland, the Pope was hoping for a ‘third way’ between capitalism and what went before. According to Michael L. Budde in A Church Divided:
“John Paul’s concerns with economic justice are deep and important. He seeks to put the Church on the side of the have-nots of the world economy, and he says that the rich North will be judged by the poor South for its “imperialistic monopoly of economic and political supremacy [gained] at the expense of others...'
And this is crucial if you want to understand the Polish government today. Like Pope John Paul II, the Law and Justice party, and the minor coalition member, League of Polish Families, are social conservatives. But on economic matters they have a deep distrust of the free market.
Marcin Krol, Rector of Warsaw University sums up:
'The debate the Pope began on the relationship between the free market and moral problems remains unfinished. Eliminating the abuses that accompany capitalism and harnessing it for the benefit of society and human morals still needs to be tackled. John Paul II had the courage to raise the fundamental questions that needed asking.'
JP II was a lethal enemy of atheist communism but he was no fan of free market capitalism either. And the 'forgotten text' which has led to much debate in the Polish media shows he had a knowledge of the works of Marx that will suprise many a neo-con.