Neoconservative interpreters of the social ethics of Pope John Paul II have made the claim that John Paul shifted the tradition of Catholic Social Teaching in the direction of an embrace of “democratic capitalism” and other neoconservative ideals. This article challenges those claims. Major differences between the social ethics of Pope John Paul II and those of neoconservatives such as Michael Novak, George Weigel, and Richard John Neuhaus are highlighted. These differences include contrasting assessments of current forms of capitalism and of economic globalization, as well as differing views concerning economic democracy, economic rights, consumerism, the significance of structural injustice as a cause of poverty, the proper economic role of the state, the value of the United Nations, the importance of lifestyle simplification, and the urgency of ecological issues. An understanding of these major differences is essential in enabling Catholic Social Teaching to play a truly prophetic and constructive role in responding to current global crises.