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Robin Hood or the Pope: Who Really Cares About the Poor?

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In Ezra Klein's Washington Post blog yesterday he notes that the new Robin Hood movie, according to A.O. Scott, has a Tea Party flavor.

"You may have heard that Robin Hood stole from the rich and gave to the poor, but that was just liberal media propaganda. This Robin is no socialist bandit practicing freelance wealth redistribution, but rather a manly libertarian rebel striking out against high taxes and a big government scheme to trample the ancient liberties of property owners and provincial nobles. Don't tread on him!"

He adds "Robin Hood -- at least in the movies made for adults -- has always been responsive to the national mood."

Hold that thought.

Last week, Catholic Charities USA launched a new blog Think and Act Anew - A Conversation with Father Larry Snyder about Poverty in America http://www.thinkandactanew.org. According to the Sacramento Bee, in his post "Collateral Damage" Fr. Snyder states that restructuring "requires innovative and fundamental change in how we think and how we act. We need big, innovative ideas about how to meld our market economy with the common good so as to avoid collateral damage in the future."

Citing Pope Benedict XVI's encyclical Caritas in Veritate, Fr. Snyder reminds everyone -- governments, business, and individuals -- that "the primary capital to be safeguarded and valued is the human person. Man is the source, the focus, and the aim of all economic and social life.""

This is where "Tea Party" Robin Hood is misdirected. Property owners won't have security until the least among us have economic security, too. The national mood of frustration and anger is based on a desire to go back to the good old days. But those days are gone. To dig out of our national mess is going to take thinking along a very new trajectory that reflects the realities of 21st century industry and economics. I miss the old Robin Hood of medieval times -- his was such a simple solution. Maybe in the 21st century it's time for "Friar Tuck" to take command and apply Pope Benedict's encyclical to the economic debate here in America.