If you want a lesson on why socialism is winning over capitalism, look no further than Stephanie Slade’s allegedly pro-capitalist Reason.com article “Regulation and ‘the Right Ordering of Economic Life’: What libertarians can learn from Catholic social doctrine.”
Since the first papal encyclical on modern economic questions, Rerum Novarum, was promulgated in 1891, Catholic pontiffs have had harsh words for "unbridled capitalism" and "philosophical liberalism." In Quadragesimo Anno (1931), Pope Pius XI wrote that "the right ordering of economic life cannot be left to a free competition of forces. For from this source, as from a poisoned spring, have originated and spread all the errors of individualist economic teaching." In Octogesima Adveniens (1971), Pope Paul VI argued that "structures" should be set up "in which the rhythm of progress would be regulated with a view to greater justice."
The upshot—that a capitalist system cannot be trusted automatically to produce what the Church views as morally acceptable outcomes—may seem to require Christians to support a robust central government. If society is to be oriented to the common good, surely some person or body needs to have enough power to do the orienting. What, besides the state, can regulate the market?
Slade’s “upshot” seems spot-on. Evading her own observation, she goes on to quote Pope John Paul II’s admonition to auto manufacturers of their “ethical” obligation of “promoting the full human development of millions of men and women” as proof of
The Church's surprising lesson for partisans of big government is that the best tools for correctly ordering economic life are found in the choices of individual market actors.
Obviously, the auto industry’s massive enhancement of millions of lives through its production of cars and jobs is not what the Pope had in mind. It’s a massive act of evasion for Slade to quote Paul VI, of all Catholic authorities, to support her contention. As I’ve noted in my Objective Standard article, Paul VI is an unabashed advocate of an unlimited authoritarian state, with “individual market actors” acting only as extensions of government authority.
The fact is, Catholic doctrine is socialist and statist. The Church openly advocates political power to impose its social doctrine. In Populorum Progressio, Pope Paul VI himself laid it out in plain language:
“‘[U]nder the leadership of justice and in the company of charity, created goods should flow fairly to all.’
“All other rights, whatever they may be, including the rights of property and free trade, are to be subordinated to this principle. 
“[T]the right of private property may never be exercised to the detriment of the common good. . . When ‘private gain and basic community needs conflict with one another,’ it is for the public authorities ‘to seek a solution to these questions, with the active involvement of individual citizens and social groups.’ 
“Organized programs are necessary for ‘directing, stimulating, coordinating, supplying and integrating’ the work of individuals and intermediary organizations.
“It is for the public authorities to establish and lay down the desired goals, the plans to be followed, and the methods to be used in fulfilling them; and it is also their task to stimulate the efforts of those involved in this common activity.” 
The “public authorities”--the state--would subordinate “all other rights”—that is, all genuine individual rights—to carry out the Church’s ironclad mandate that “created goods should flow fairly to all.” And in his 2009 Encyclical Caritas in Veritate, Pope Benedict XVI reaffirmed the message of Populorum Progressio, calling it “still timely in our day.” That is not the Church saying “the best tools for correctly ordering economic life are found in the choices of individual market actors.” It is not government as a “backstop.” That is the Church calling for a totalitarian socialist state.
There is so much wrong in the way this article portrays social relationships under “unregulated liberal capitalism” that it could have been written by a committed socialist. Slade effectively swallows the socialists’ straw man version of capitalism and self-interest, including the false idea that capitalism is about “all involved are concerned solely with their own material advantage and will happily sacrifice others in the pursuit thereof,” which is the opposite of how free markets work, which is trade. Trade is the mutual, non-sacrificial exchange of value for value. The Church is so hooked on self-sacrifice that it can’t see any alternative but other-sacrifice: It can’t conceive of non-sacrificial, mutually beneficial, mutually selfish trade relationships.
And so Christian apologists try to box capitalism into a sacrificial—that is, altruistic—straightjacket. It won’t work. It never has. And the Catholic Church knows it. Catholic social doctrine is virulently anti-capitalist, and as Slade shows by the very quotes she cites, Catholic social doctrine condemns the moral core of capitalism--the right to the pursuit of personal gain and happiness through trade. If you can’t defend capitalism morally, you can’t defend capitalism.
The essence of Catholic social doctrine is that need trumps individualism—that is, it’s collectivist. And it’s clear that the Catholic Church views “big government”—statism—as the ultimate source of the “structures” that would determine “the right ordering of economic life.” No wonder Catholic doctrine condemns self-interest. It’s the same reason the socialists do—to kill capitalism and bring on socialism. What is left of the individual and private enterprise whose property rights have been subordinated to a state-determined “common good?”
As I stated earlier, Catholic social doctrine is socialist. That’s not news. But it is not voluntary socialism. It is political socialism, socialism imposed by state force, Marxism/Leninism socialism. Slade seems to be a sincere advocate of individual liberty. In another article, she condemns who she calls “the New Theocrats,” a rising Conservative New Right who advocate for “the use of the public power [of the state] to advance the common good, including in the realm of public morality” based on Catholic doctrine. They seek “to use the law to forcibly restore America's Judeo-Christian character” as a counter-attack against the New Left’s anti-liberty, “common good” agenda. Slade correctly calls out these New Theocrats for their use of the “common good” justification. “The problem hardly needs stating: What is meant by the common good?”, she asks. Yet Paul VI himself justifies the Church’s statist position in the same way, saying “[T]the right of private property may never be exercised to the detriment of the common good.”
She may not like it, but the Cathoilc Church backs up the New Theocrats, not Stephanie Slade.
The Illegitimacy of Pope Francis's “Legitimate Redistribution” of Wealth—Natalie Ogle for The Objective Standard