Catholics are generally fiscally liberal and socially conservative. They want the government (people) to give to the poor because it is what the church teaches, but they are strong believers in marriage between a man and woman, are strong pro-lifers, and do not support the use of contraceptives.
I would think the Pope will follow those basic tenets.
“....but they are strong believers in marriage between a man and woman,....”
Then why is it that surveys conducted by the Church show that 54% (fifty four percent!!!) of Catholics do not oppose same-sex “marriage”?
Just like today's Republicans. :)
When Catholics came to the United States, they faced bitter economic repression. Where they could not find leadership roles in businesses at first, they did manage, due to their numbers, to elect people in cities who would open the doors of government work to them. Civil service, such as police, firefighters, soldiers and teachers, was a means to the middle class. Further, the Church was very unionist, at a time when unions stood for decent pay and working conditions, rather than emezzlement, abortion, homosexuality and bloated government bureaucracies. (The merger and nationalization of local unions into the AFL-CIO was tragic.) So practically, yes, American Catholics have been long affiliated with the Democratic party.
At the same time, the Catholic Church in Europe was the last (unsuccessful, sadly, in most cases) against the anti-clerical socialist movements. She forcefully condemned socialism, and pioneered the economic theory of subsidiarity. Unfortunately, she also became infected with freemasons, and the New World became dominated by left-wing American priests, and the heresies which in the Protestant world were called “the social gospel” took root in the Catholic Church as “liberation theology.”
John Paul II condemned liberation theology, and nourished domestic clergy in Latin America and Africa. But in the midst of expressing so much concern for the poor, he insufficiently spread the gospel of subsidiarity, the notion that authority should default to the simplest social structure even theoretically capable of accomplishing a socially necessary task. (Think states rights in the context of national policy, but community rights in the context of state policy, and individual freedom in the context of communities.)
John Paul’s answer to communism was solidarity, the notion that a hulking bureaucracy cannot be responsive to personal social means. But his critiques of plutocracy in the West led to several opportunities for the economic left (still at heart holding to liberation theology) to exploit his linguistic limitations. For instance, Americans conflate “economic freedom” with “Capitalism.” To Europeans, “capitalism” means what we would call, “plutocracy.” So when John Paul the European decried “capitalism,” American liberals portrayed him as opposing free markets. And they conflated in so many minds, “socialism” and “charity.”
I believe Pope Francis gets it far better.
SotC makes a well-sourced expansion of the difference between what Europeans call “capitalism” and what Americans mean by the term.
The Church is against theft: and furthermore teaches that if a man does not work he should not eat. Widows and orphans are another matter of course.