Today I would like not only to address you, but through you the entire people of the United States. Here, together with their representatives, I would like to take this opportunity to dialogue with the many thousands of men and women who strive each day to do an honest day’s work, to bring home their daily bread, to save money and – one step at a time – to build a better life for their families. These are men and women who are not concerned simply with paying their taxes, but in their own quiet way sustain the life of society. They generate solidarity by their actions, and they create organizations which offer a helping hand to those most in need.
It goes without saying that part of this great effort is the creation and distribution of wealth. The right use of natural resources, the proper application of technology and the harnessing of the spirit of enterprise are essential elements of an economy which seeks to be modern, inclusive and sustainable. “Business is a noble vocation, directed to producing wealth and improving the world. It can be a fruitful source of prosperity for the area in which it operates, especially if it sees the creation of jobs as an essential part of its service to the common good” (Laudato Si’, 129).
It's an impressive speech. I particularly liked the fact that His Holiness addressed the complaint that he always talks about the poor and never has anything to say about the middle classes. Here he acknowledges the importance of hardworking taxpayers. He even has positive things to say about capitalism and the market economy, even if he does tie it into the rather nebulous idea of the 'common good.'.
I don't share the Holy Father's strong opposition to the death penalty. After years of supporting the death penalty I have become equivocal on the issue. I don't like the idea of killing people, but I think the arguments for the death penalty from Scripture can't be dismissed, even if they are inconclusive.
I also like the Holy Father's rejection of hostility to immigrants. Donald Trump in the USA and Nigel Farage in the UK need to heed that message.