I am a Catholic but not a theologian. I recently heard a sermon about my moral obligations regarding the wave of economic refugees increasingly heading our way. It reminded me that much of what I encounter in Catholic moral teaching seems to be infused with defective economics. For example, it is accurate to say that all Christian social teaching tells us that getting attached to material consumption to the exclusion of spirituality, human connections and the needs of others is wrong. But this truism is often followed by a non sequitur that poverty in the Third World is the result of First World overconsumption.
A consistent defect that permeates this line of thinking is the medieval assumption that resources and material well-being are always a zero-sum game. Two centuries of incredible global growth in material well-being, lifespan, technology, and productivity should have forever dispelled zero-sum thinking but Marxists, peak oil enthusiasts, and the current pope manage to cling to static medieval perspectives.More