I was raised as a Roman Catholic and graduated from Loyola University of Chicago which is a Jesuit school of higher learning. Pope Francis is the first Jesuit (a member of the Society of Jesus, a teaching order) ever to be elected Pope.
In 1961, Pope John XX111 wrote an encylclical called Mater et Magistra which translates as Mother and Teacher to refer to the traditional role of the Church in the lives of Catholics. An encyclical is an opinion and a teaching tool that carries great weight but it is NOT a statement of official dogma that all Catholics must believe.
Sadly from my perspective as an American political conservative, Mater et Magistra set the stage for a variety of vague "calls" by several popes for actions by governments to promote something called "social justice" which seems to imply there is a different standard of justice for society at large than for individuals. The concept itself has no strict definition but other vague references to helping the poor. While I admire the Christian teaching of the popes, here is my problem with calls from the Vatican for government intervention to bring about "social justice."
No pope in my lifetime has ever run a for-profit business or had much experience at all with the free enterprise system. Even more problematical for me is the fact that no pope in my lifetime as ever even lived in a country that combined both a stable democracy with a robust free-market system. No pope in my lifetime has demonstrated much understanding of how jobs get created and prosperity is promoted under a successful free market economy. I suppose one might argue that Pope Benedict XVI did live in West Germany at a time when there was a stable democracy and a robust free market but his scholarship was in the field of theology and not in the field of economics. But the other recent popes have come from Italy, Poland, and now Argentina which have not been successful and stable democtacies or fee markets.
So of course I must agree that all Christians have an obligation to try to help the poor and promote justice for individuals when and where they can. But I cannot agree at all that government is the correct engine to accomplish such a mission since any government by definition, including even a free government, is a monopoly on the use of force and coercion and coercion is fundamentally contrary to the Divine spirit of free will in humans. So when the Vatican calls for government intervention in an ill-defined issue such as "income inequality," it is on a very slippery slope toward endorsing coercion.
The Catholic bishops in America agree with calls for "social justice" and then get unhappy when the government of this nation uses coercion to promote abortion and contraception. I respectfully suggest that It would be well for the bishops to recall the words of the first Catholic president at his inauguration in 1961 when John F Kennedy warned about "those who foolishly seek power, by riding the back of the tiger, only to end up inside."