Michael Sean Winters of National Catholic Reporter comments on Reihnold Neihbur, comments on Neihbur and the National Prayer Breakfast Remarks of Cardinal O'Malley in relation to the critics of Francis (including the Italian Tea Party - as a Romani, I have no love for the Italian Tea Party as they abuse my family). You can read about MSW's comment on the spiritual side of the battle for economic equality at http://ncronline.org/blogs/distinctly-catholic/what-critics-pope-francis...
My comments follow:
We know much more about Russia now than in the 1950s. Indeed, we also know more about the Defense Department. As the 50s turned into the 70s and 80s we had the New Soviet Man, created to be beyond religion. The problem is, there was not enough consumerism in Russia to keep the place going and the desire for it upended any attempt at a New Soviet Man. Now, of course, we have the Orthodox Church with the collaboration of President Putin going after homosexuals in ways reminiscient of Stalin. Of cource, Ukraine has taken that story off the the front pages.
In America, it is the McCarthyite (Bircher) types who are both going after marriage equality, high taxes and Pope Francis. Back in the 50s, there was talk of a missle gap. The reality is that the Soviets were behind, the not US. It helped the DoD to let that notion live for their own budgets, kind of like the myth that al Queda is going to kill us all (they aren't).
As for American consumerism, that sounds nice to me. Many of us are still without good jobs so there is no consumerism without charity from friends and relatives. The wealthy can do consumerism just fine, but that is not a new thing. Of course, there would be less of it if taxes were higher, like in the 1950s, so that any cuts to worker pay would not go to the CEO (like they do today) but to the government. This meant that they did not even try to cut wages or limit their increase to inflation. That was not a bad thing. Pope Paul used to talk about giving people bread before preaching to them. Its that bad for many of us, which is why a vocal Francis scares the right wing so much.