I remember when Cardinal Ratzinger was announced as Pope. It happened while I was on live TV, on CNBC with Larry Kudlow. They cut away from me and the other pundits to a live correspondent, who announced that the former Cardinal Ratzinger had decided to call himself Benedict XVI.
Larry said something like “I wonder what the significance of that is.” I turned my head away from the camera and said to my wife “It means he’s not giving up on Europe.” I wondered whether to try to get the attention of the line producer to inform him that I had something to say about the choice of name, but decided not to. I was there as an market pundit, not a church pundit (if there even is such a thing). But I’d always regretted not saying something, because subsequent events really did show that Pope Benedict XVI had in fact, chosen that name partly to evoke the memory of Saint Benedict who could reasonably lay hold to the claim that he was the father of Europe. His Benedictine monks, through great learning, and with great courage preserved the learning of the ancient world, mixed with piety, and used it to lay the foundation of what eventually became Europe.
So, while on an investment committee conference call, when the white smoke appeared and shortly thereafter we learned that an Argentinian Cardinal named Jorge Bergoglio had been elected and had chosen for himself the name Pope Francis, I decided that this time I was going to share my first thought with friends and colleagues on the call. Here it is: the Pope will probably move the Church culturally to the right, and more likely move it economically to the left.
In other words, the age old answer to the question, “Is the Pope Catholic?” is, “Yes.” But the answer to the question, “Is the Pope capitalist?” is, “Probably not.”