The Vatican has an economist

Here’s a nice lead paragraph to a story:

Bankers are not the cause of the global economic crisis, according to the president of the Institute for the Works of Religion. Rather, the cause is ordinary people who do not “believe in the future” and have few or no children.

We owe this insight to Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, a “Vatican economist.”

OK, I’ll admit I’m already prejudiced against economists. Usually, what goes under the name of economics is a little too tangled with ideology for my liking, and my teeth are really set on edge when anyone claims economics is a science. (Economists have an irritating habit of taking something that might work as an approximation at a small scale, and generalizing it to a point where it becomes apparent they don’t believe in the second law of thermodynamics.)

But a Vatican economist? I just have to imagine an economist who combines the worst aspects of two very ugly ideologies: conservative Catholicism and free-market dogmatics. And yes, to the extent that it is possible to judge from the rest of the story, the results are just about as insane as I’d expect.