Lacking the time these days to develop properly my contention that the Pope's view on questions we're used to associating with the political left is not what may at first appear, let me just hold up this recent "exhibit."
In the early days and hours of his papacy, the Pope, displaying his deep affinity with St. Francis of Assisi, spoke of the disordered relationship we have with the environment. We tend to abuse it when we should be receiving it reverently it as a gift from God.
"Uh oh," think many on the right, "a lefty."
"Hooray!" think many on the left, "one of us!"
Then last week Pope Francis gave a homily to mark the UN-declared World Environment Day. He chose to focus on the value and dignity of human life. [emphasis added]
When stock markets drop ten points it's ‘a tragedy’ but starving children, homeless people dying on our streets, people disposed of like trash – such as the unborn or the elderly – has become the norm. This is the result of a culture of waste, of our being unable to ‘read the signs’ of God’s creation, His free gift to us, and of allowing money and not man rule society. A culture of solidarity should prevail over our culture of waste, because when we care for and cultivate creation – including the human person – when we share our resources, we all have enough.
Notice that he sees an essential link between the abuse of persons and the abuse of the environment. It's not the usual leftist identification of profit and greed, is it? It goes much deeper than that. It's about our basic moral disposition in the world—our disposition toward God, toward others, toward Creation. Society is sick, because we are exploitative where we should be reverent, we abuse where we should be taking care.
The Pope isn't calling for taxes on carbon emissions. He's calling for conversion of heart.