Lost amid the media’s tug-of-war over the Pope’s political persuasions (which he has made clear do not exist), has been his clear affirmation of the dignity and vocation of work and free enterprise as ennobling.

In his address to Congress, Pope Francis directly addressed, “the men and women who strive each day to do an honest day’s work, to bring home their daily bread, to save money and –one step at a time – to build a better life for their families. These are men and women who are not concerned simply with paying their taxes, but in their own quiet way sustain the life of society.”

Later in the speech he said, “harnessing of the spirit of enterprise are essential elements of an economy which seeks to be modern, inclusive and sustainable.” He then quoted from Laudato Si and said, “Business is a noble vocation, directed to producing wealth and improving the world. It can be a fruitful source of prosperity for the area in which it operates, especially if it sees the creation of jobs as an essential part of its service to the common good.”

Upon arriving in New York City, the financial capital of the world, he said to a gathering at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, “Once we realize how much God has given us, we learn that a life of sacrifice, of working for him and for others, becomes a privileged way, a privileged way of responding to his great love.”

And in his address this am to the United Nations, he stressed that to help the men and women who live in extreme poverty, we must “allow them to be dignified agents of their own destiny.”

These are principles that form the bedrock of economic freedom: the dignity of work and the creation of jobs through human creativity. The power of free enterprise to unleash opportunity. The individual as the agent of the economy. The Pope’s free-market critics should take note.