This excellent article by Catholic Culture examines the reasons the socialists have been able to effectively use Church doctrine in support of their arguments while capitalists have largely not.
“By the end of the day I expect to hear at least a half-dozen complaints that Pope Francis has sided with socialists, because of his Thursday address denouncing the “cult of money.”
“The same problem arises whenever a Pope—or any other Christian leader—denounces selfishness and materialism. Political pundits, accustomed to viewing everything in terms of contemporary policy debates, leap to conclusions. Socialists denounce selfishness, they observe. So if the Pope denounces selfishness, he must be a socialist. Non sequitur. That syllogism is fatally flawed.
“The Judeo-Christian condemnation of false idols, which Pope Francis invoked today, stretches back to the Book of Exodus. The moral imperative to care for those in need, for widows and orphans—yes, and for aliens living in a strange land—runs through the Psalms and is amplified in the Gospels. The Church is not imitating the rhetoric of the socialist movement; the socialists are exploiting the teachings of the Church.
“But why have socialists been so successful in that endeavor—so successful, in fact, that today we are tempted to think of a “Good Samaritan” as someone operating a government-funded program, rather than as an exemplar of Christian charity? Why haven’t the defenders of capitalism been able to express their own economic arguments in the language of the Gospels?
“Too often, I’m afraid that—as Pope Francis suggested today—the rich and powerful are not particularly interested in the Gospel message. But that doesn’t really answer the question, because socialists aren’t much interested either—as is evident from their penchant for alliance with the proponents of abortion, homosexual marriage, etc. The Word of God is a two-edged sword, and there are enough moral challenges in the New Testament to make any ideologue uneasy.
“So why does the Pope sound like a socialist? Or rather, how have socialists managed to make themselves sound like Christians? Here’s my conclusion: The political Left has been willing to take what it likes from the Bible, while the Right has been unwilling to do so.
“Socialists make their arguments in moral terms, because if the argument is stated purely in practical terms, the socialists will lose. By the same logic, capitalists prefer to state their arguments in practical economic terms. Unfortunately, in doing so, they cede the moral high ground to their opponents. With rare exceptions—one thinks immediately of Michael Novak and of the Acton Institute–defenders of capitalism have not taken the trouble to state their case primarily in moral terms. And that’s unfortunate, because a powerful argument can be made that capitalism, tempered by a Christian moral framework, is the best available solution to the problem of poverty.”