I did suggest Pat Buchanan, which at least puts me in the right congregation.
So what does it mean?
You could say 'the Pope is more left-wing that we thought'.
Or you could say 'looking at the texts, they're not as left wing as they appear'.
But I would say 'left-wing ideas are not as problematic for the status quo as they used to be'.
In particular, I would say that the issue of social inequality is not as dangerous a one as it used to be. That's because the working classes are relatively quiescent these days. In the past, elites generally tried to justify, or cover up the problem of social inequality. Nowadays they never shut up about it. In Britain, T. Blair's centre-piece policy is the 'social exclusion unit', constantly raising awareness of unconsidered problems of inequality. The UN and even the World Bank make great play of social inequality in their reports.
The solution to social inequality generally proposed in this mainstream dialogue, is to 'build strong communities'. In general this means to bolster up the status quo, with heavy policing measures, and an increasingly regulative role for welfare agencies, too.
I agree with Carl, when he writes
>The Catholic Church sees both capital and labor in a subservient
>capacity -- basically, I think it would like nothing better than a
>return to its golden age, medieval society.
Except he should add that this Golden Age is increasingly celebrated by more and more people, from Critical Theorists to Ecologists and Communitarians.
Anti-market rhetoric, an elevation of need over greed, protests about inequality, a demand for stronger communities - these are ideas that had their origin on the left, but their ability to scandalise the bourgeoisie has warn thin. They can all be accommodated to the defence of the capitalist order. The Pope is peddling opium. -- Jim heartfield