Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace
THE INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL AND MONETARY SYSTEMS
IN THE CONTEXT OF GLOBAL PUBLIC AUTHORITY
“The world situation requires the concerted effort of everyone, a thorough examination of every facet of the problem – social, economic, cultural and spiritual. The Church, which has long experience in human affairs and has no desire to be involved in the political activities of any nation, ‘seeks but one goal: to carry forward the work of Christ under the lead of the befriending Spirit. And Christ entered this world to give witness to the truth; to save, not to judge; to serve, not to be served.’”
With these words, in the prophetic and always relevant Encyclical Populorum Progressio of 1967, Paul VI outlined in a clear way “the trajectories” of the Church’s close relation with the world. These trajectories intersect in the profound value of human dignity and the quest for the common good, which make people responsible and free to act according to their highest aspirations.
The economic and financial crisis which the world is going through calls everyone, individuals and peoples, to examine in depth the principles and the cultural and moral values at the basis of social coexistence. What is more, the crisis engages private actors and competent public authorities on the national, regional and international level in serious reflection on both causes and solutions of a political, economic and technical nature.
In this perspective, as Benedict XVI teaches, the crisis “obliges us to re-plan our journey, to set ourselves new rules and to discover new forms of commitment, to build on positive experiences and to reject negative ones. The crisis thus becomes an opportunity for discernment, in which to shape a new vision for the future. In this spirit, with confidence rather than resignation, it is appropriate to address the difficulties of the present time.”
The G20 leaders themselves said in the Statement they adopted in Pittsburgh in 2009: “The economic crisis demonstrates the importance of ushering in a new era of sustainable global economic activity grounded in responsibility.”
The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace now responds to the Holy Father’s appeal, while making the concerns of everyone our own, especially the concerns of those who pay most dearly for the current situation. With due respect for the competent civil and political authorities, the Council hereby offers and shares its reflection: Towards reforming the international financial and monetary systems in the context of global public authority.
This reflection hopes to benefit world leaders and all people of good will. It is an exercise of responsibility not only towards the current but above all towards future generations, so that hope for a better future and confidence in human dignity and capacity for good may never be extinguished.
Cardinal Peter K.A. Turkson +Mario Toso
Every individual and every community shares in and is responsible for promoting the common good. Faithful to their ethical and religious vocation, communities of believers should take the lead in asking whether human family has adequate means at its disposal to achieve the global common good. The Church for her part is called to encourage in everyone without distinction, the desire to join in the “monumental amount of individual and collective effort” which men have made “throughout the course of the centuries ... to better the circumstances of their lives.... [T]his human activity accords with God’s will.”
1. Economic Development and Inequalities
The grave economic and financial crisis which the world is going through today springs from multiple causes. Opinions on the number and significance of these causes vary widely. Some commentators emphasize first and foremost certain errors inherent in the economic and financial policies; others stress the structural weaknesses of political, economic and financial institutions; still others say that the causes are ethical breakdowns occurring at all levels of a world economy that is increasingly dominated by utilitarianism and materialism. At every stage of the crisis, one might discover particular technical errors intertwined with certain ethical orientations.
In material goods markets, natural factors and productive capacity as well as labour in all of its many forms set quantitative limits by determining relationships of costs and prices which, under certain conditions, permit an efficient allocation of available resources.
In monetary and financial markets, however, the dynamics are quite different. In recent decades, it was the banks that extended credit, which generated money, which in turn sought a further expansion of credit. In this way, the economic system was driven towards an inflationary spiral that inevitably encountered a limit in the risk that credit institutions could accept. They faced the ultimate danger of bankruptcy, with negative consequences for the entire economic and financial system
After World War II, national economies made progress, albeit with enormous sacrifices for millions, indeed billions of people who, as producers and entrepreneurs on the one hand and as savers and consumers on the other, had put their confidence in a regular and progressive expansion of money supply and investment in line with opportunities for real growth of the economy.
Since the 1990s, we have seen that money and credit instruments worldwide have grown more rapidly than revenue, even adjusting for current prices. From this came the formation of pockets of excessive liquidity and speculative bubbles which later turned into a series of solvency and confidence crises that have spread and followed one another over the years.
A first crisis took place in the 1970s until the early 1980s and was related to the sudden sharp rises in oil prices. Subsequently, there was a series of crises in the developing world, for example, the first crisis in Mexico in the 1980s and those in Brazil, Russia and Korea, and then again in Mexico in the 1990s as well as in Thailand and Argentina.
The speculative bubble in real estate and the recent financial crisis have the very same origin in the excessive amount of money and the plethora of financial instruments globally.
Whereas the crises in the developing countries that risked involving the global monetary and financial system were contained through interventions by the more developed countries, the outbreak of the crisis in 2008 was characterized by a different factor compared with the previous ones, something decisive and explosive. Generated in the context of the United States, it took place in one of the most important zones for the global economy and finances. It directly affected what is still the currency of reference for the great majority of international trade transactions.
A liberalist approach, unsympathetic towards public intervention in the markets, chose to allow an important international financial institution to fall into bankruptcy, on the assumption that this would contain the crisis and its effects. Unfortunately, this spawned a widespread lack of confidence and a sudden change in attitudes. Various public interventions of enormous scope (more than 20% of gross national product) were urgently requested in order to stem the negative effects that could have overwhelmed the entire international financial system.
The consequences for the real economy, what with grave difficulties in some sectors – first of all, construction – and wide distribution of unfavourable forecasts, have generated a negative trend in production and international trade with very serious repercussions for employment as well as other effects that have probably not yet had their full impact. The costs are extremely onerous for millions in the developed countries, but also and above all for billions in the developing ones.
In countries and areas where the most elementary goods like health, food and shelter are still lacking, more than a billion people are forced to survive on an average income of less than a dollar a day.
Global economic well-being, traditionally measured by national income and also by levels of capacities, grew during the second half of the twentieth century, to an extent and with a speed never experienced in the history of humankind.
But the inequalities within and between various countries have also grown significantly. While some of the more industrialized and developed countries and economic zones – the ones that are most industrialized and developed – have seen their income grow considerably, other countries have in fact been excluded from the overall improvement of the economy and their situation has even worsened.
After the Second Vatican Council in his Encyclical Letter Populorum Progressio of 1967, Paul VI already clearly and prophetically denounced the dangers of an economic development conceived in liberalist terms because of its harmful consequences for world equilibrium and peace. The Pontiff asserted that the defence of life and the promotion of people’s cultural and moral development are the essential conditions for the promotion of authentic development. On these grounds, Paul VI said that full and global development is “the new name of peace”.
Forty years later, in its annual Report of in 2007, the International Monetary Fund recognized the close connection between an inadequately managed process of globalization on the one hand, and the world’s great inequalities on the other. Today the modern means of communication make these great economic, social and cultural inequalities obvious to everyone, rich and poor alike, giving rise to tensions and to massive migratory movements.
Nonetheless, it should be reiterated that the process of globalisation with its positive aspects is at the root of the world economy's great development in the twentieth century. It is worth recalling that between 1900 and 2000 the world population increased almost fourfold and the wealth produced worldwide grew much more rapidly, resulting in a significant rise of average per capita income. At the same time, however, the distribution of wealth did not become fairer but in many cases worsened.
What has driven the world in such a problematic direction for its economy and also for peace?
First and foremost, an economic liberalism that spurns rules and controls. Economic liberalism is a theoretical system of thought, a form of “economic apriorism” that purports to derive laws for how markets function from theory, these being laws of capitalistic development, while exaggerating certain aspects of markets. An economic system of thought that sets down a priori the laws of market functioning and economic development, without measuring them against reality, runs the risk of becoming an instrument subordinated to the interests of the countries that effectively enjoy a position of economic and financial advantage.
Regulations and controls, imperfect though they may be, already often exist at the national and regional levels; whereas on the international level, it is hard to apply and consolidate such controls and rules.
The inequalities and distortions of capitalist development are often an expression not only of economic liberalism but also of utilitarian thinking: that is, theoretical and practical approaches according to which what is useful for the individual leads to the good of the community. This saying has a core of truth, but it cannot be ignored that individual utility – even where it is legitimate – does not always favour the common good. In many cases a spirit of solidarity is called for that transcends personal utility for the good of the community.
In the 1920s, some economists had already warned about giving too much weight, in the absence of regulations and controls, to theories which have since become prevailing ideologies and practices on the international level.
One devastating effect of these ideologies, especially in the last decades of the past century and the first years of the current one, has been the outbreak of the crisis in which the world is still immersed.
In his social encyclical, Benedict XVI precisely identified the roots of a crisis that is not only economic and financial but above all moral in nature. In fact, as the Pontiff notes, to function correctly the economy needs ethics; and not just of any kind but one that is people-centred. He goes on to denounce the role played by utilitarianism and individualism and the responsibilities of those who have adopted and promoted them as the parameters for the optimal behaviour of all economic and political agents who operate and interact in the social context. But Benedict XVI also identifies and denounces a new ideology, that of “technocracy”.
2. The Role of Technology and the Ethical Challenge
The great economic and social development of the past century, with their bright spots and serious shadows, can also be attributed in large part to the continued development of technology and more recently to advances in information technologies and especially their applications in the economy and most significantly in finance.
However, to interpret the current new social question lucidly, we must avoid the error – itself a product of neo-liberal thinking – that would consider all the problems that need tackling to be exclusively of a technical nature. In such a guise, they evade the needed discernment and ethical evaluation. In this context Benedict XVI's encyclical warns about the dangers of the technocracy ideology: that is, of making technology absolute, which “tends to prevent people from recognizing anything that cannot be explained in terms of matter alone” and minimizing the value of the choices made by the concrete human individual who works in the economic-financial system by reducing them to mere technical variables. Being closed to a “beyond” in the sense of something more than technology, not only makes it impossible to find adequate solutions to the problems, but it impoverishes the principal victims of the crisis more and more from the material standpoint.
In the context of the complexity of the phenomena, the importance of the ethical and cultural factors cannot be overlooked or underestimated. In fact, the crisis has revealed behaviours like selfishness, collective greed and the hoarding of goods on a great scale. No one can be content with seeing man live like “a wolf to his fellow man”, according to the concept expounded by Hobbes. No one can in conscience accept the development of some countries to the detriment of others. If no solutions are found to the various forms of injustice, the negative effects that will follow on the social, political and economic level will be destined to create a climate of growing hostility and even violence, and ultimately undermine the very foundations of democratic institutions, even the ones considered most solid.
Recognizing the primacy of being over having and of ethics over the economy, the world’s peoples ought to adopt an ethic of solidarity as the animating core of their action. This implies abandoning all forms of petty selfishness and embracing the logic of the global common good which transcends merely contingent, particular interests. In a word, they ought to have a keen sense of belonging to the human family which means sharing the common dignity of all human beings: “Even prior to the logic of a fair exchange of goods and the forms of justice appropriate to it, there exists something which is due to man because he is man, by reason of his lofty dignity.”
In 1991, after the failure of Marxist communism, Blessed John Paul II had already warned of the risk of an “idolatry of the market, an idolatry which ignores the existence of goods which by their nature are not and cannot be mere commodities.” Today his warning needs to be heeded without delay and a road must be taken that is in greater harmony with the dignity and transcendent vocation of the person and the human family.
3. An Authority over Globalization
On the way to building a more fraternal and just human family and, even before that, a new humanism open to transcendence, Blessed John XXIII’s teaching seems especially timely. In the prophetic Encyclical Pacem in Terris of 1963, he observed that the world was heading towards ever greater unification. He then acknowledged the fact that a correspondence was lacking in the human community between the political organization “on a world level and the objective needs of the universal common good”. He also expressed the hope that one day “a true world political authority” would be created.
In view of the unification of the world engendered by the complex phenomenon of globalization, and of the importance of guaranteeing, in addition to other collective goods, the good of a free, stable world economic and financial system at the service of the real economy, today the teaching of Pacem in Terris appears to be even more vital and worthy of urgent implementation.
In the same spirit of Pacem in Terris, Benedict XVI himself expressed the need to create a world political authority. This seems obvious if we consider the fact that the agenda of questions to be dealt with globally is becoming ever longer. Think, for example, of peace and security; disarmament and arms control; promotion and protection of fundamental human rights; management of the economy and development policies; management of the migratory flows and food security, and protection of the environment. In all these areas, the growing interdependence between States and regions of the world becomes more and more obvious as well as the need for answers that are not just sectorial and isolated, but systematic and integrated, rich in solidarity and subsidiarity and geared to the universal common good.
As the Pope reminds us, if this road is not followed, “despite the great progress accomplished in various sectors, international law would risk being conditioned by the balance of power among the strongest nations.”
The purpose of the public authority, as John XXIII recalled in Pacem in Terris, is first and foremost to serve the common good. Therefore, it should be endowed with structures and adequate, effective mechanisms equal to its mission and the expectations placed in it. This is especially true in a globalized world which makes individuals and peoples increasingly interconnected and interdependent, but which also reveals the existence of monetary and financial markets of a predominantly speculative sort that are harmful for the real economy, especially of the weaker countries.
This is a complex and delicate process. A supranational Authority of this kind should have a realistic structure and be set up gradually. It should be favourable to the existence of efficient and effective monetary and financial systems; that is, free and stable markets overseen by a suitable legal framework, well-functioning in support of sustainable development and social progress of all, and inspired by the values of charity and truth. It is a matter of an Authority with a global reach that cannot be imposed by force, coercion or violence, but should be the outcome of a free and shared agreement and a reflection of the permanent and historic needs of the world common good. It ought to arise from a process of progressive maturation of consciences and freedoms as well as the awareness of growing responsibilities. Consequently, reciprocal trust, autonomy and participation cannot be overlooked as if they were superfluous elements. The consent should involve an ever greater number of countries that adhere with conviction, through a sincere dialogue that values the minority opinions rather than marginalizing them. So the world Authority should consistently involve all peoples in a collaboration in which they are called to contribute, bringing to it the heritage of their virtues and their civilizations.
The establishment of a world political Authority should be preceded by a preliminary phase of consultation from which a legitimated institution will emerge that is in a position to be an effective guide and, at the same time, can allow each country to express and pursue its own particular good. The exercise of this Authority at the service of the good of each and every one will necessarily be super partes (impartial): that is, above any partial vision or particular good, in view of achieving the common good. Its decisions should not be the result of the more developed countries' excessive power over the weaker countries. Instead, they should be made in the interest of all, not only to the advantage of some groups, whether they are formed by private lobbies or national governments.
A supranational Institution, the expression of a “community of nations”, will not last long, however, if the countries’ diversities from the standpoint of cultures, material and immaterial resources and historic and geographic conditions, are not recognized and fully respected. The lack of a convinced consensus, nourished by an unceasing moral communion on the part of the world community, would also reduce the effectiveness of such an Authority.
What is valid on the national level is also valid on the global level. A person is not made to serve authority unconditionally. Rather, it is the task of authority to be at the service of the person, consistent with the pre-eminent value of human dignity. Likewise, governments should not serve the world Authority unconditionally. Instead, it is the world Authority that should put itself at the service of the various member countries, according to the principle of subsidiarity. Among the ways it should do this is by creating the socio-economic, political and legal conditions essential for the existence of markets that are efficient and efficacious because they are not over-protected by paternalistic national policies and not weakened by systematic deficits in public finances and of the gross national products – indeed, such policies and deficits actually hamper the markets themselves in operating in a world context as open and competitive institutions.
In the tradition of the Church’s Magisterium which Benedict XVI has vigorously embraced, the principle of subsidiarity should regulate relations between the State and local communities and between public and private institutions, not excluding the monetary and financial institutions. So, on a higher level, it ought to govern the relations between a possible future global public Authority and regional and national institutions. This principle guarantees both democratic legitimacy and the efficacy of the decisions of those called to make them. It allows respect for the freedom of people, individually and in communities, and at the same time, allows them to take responsibility for the objectives and duties that pertain to them.
According to the logic of subsidiarity, the higher Authority offers its subsidium, that is, its aid, only when individual, social or financial actors are intrinsically deficient in capacity, or cannot manage by themselves to do what is required of them. Thanks to the principle of solidarity, a lasting and fruitful relation is built up between global civil society and a world public Authority as States, intermediate bodies, various institutions – including economic and financial ones – and citizens make their decisions with a view to the global common good, which transcends national goods.
As we read in Caritas in Veritate, “The governance of globalization must be marked by subsidiarity, articulated into several layers and involving different levels that can work together.” Only in this way can the danger of a central Authority’s bureaucratic isolation be avoided, which would otherwise risk being delegitimized by an excessive distance from the realities on which it is based and easily fall prey to paternalistic, technocratic or hegemonic temptations.
However, a long road still needs to be travelled before arriving at the creation of a public Authority with universal jurisdiction. It would seem logical for the reform process to proceed with the United Nations as its reference because of the worldwide scope of its responsibilities, its ability to bring together the nations of the world, and the diversity of its tasks and those of its specialized Agencies. The fruit of such reforms ought to be a greater ability to adopt policies and choices that are binding because they are aimed at achieving the common good on the local, regional and world levels. Among the policies, those regarding global social justice seem most urgent: financial and monetary policies that will not damage the weakest countries; and policies aimed at achieving free and stable markets and a fair distribution of world wealth, which may also derive from unprecedented forms of global fiscal solidarity, which will be dealt with later.
On the way to creating a world political Authority, questions of governance (that is, a system of merely horizontal coordination without an authority super partes cannot be separated from those of a shared government (that is, a system which in addition to horizontal coordination establishes an authority super partes) which is functional and proportionate to the gradual development of a global political society. The establishment of a global political Authority cannot be achieved without an already functioning multilateralism, not only on a diplomatic level, but also and above all in relation to programs for sustainable development and peace. It is not possible to arrive at global Government without giving political expression to pre-existing forms of interdependence and cooperation.
4. Towards Reforming the International Financial and Monetary Systems in a way that Responds to the Needs of all Peoples
In economic and financial matters, the most significant difficulties come from the lack of an effective set of structures that can guarantee, in addition to a system of governance, a system of government for the economy and international finance.
What can be said about this prospect? What steps can be taken concretely?
With regard to the current global economic and financial systems, two decisive factors should be stressed. The first is the gradual decline in efficacy of the Bretton Woods institutions beginning in the early 1970s. In particular, the International Monetary Fund has lost an essential element for stabilizing world finance, that of regulating the overall money supply and vigilance over the amount of credit risk taken on by the system. To sum it up, stabilizing the world monetary system is no longer a “universal public good” within its reach.
The second factor is the need for a minimum, shared body of rules to manage the global financial market which has grown much more rapidly than the real economy. This situation of rapid, uneven growth has come about, on the one hand, because of the overall abrogation of controls on capital movements and the tendency to deregulate banking and financial activities; and on the other, because of advances in financial technology, due largely to information technology.
On the structural level, in the latter part of the last century, monetary and financial activities worldwide grew much more rapidly than the production of goods and services. In this context, the quality of credit tended to decrease to the point that it exposed the credit institutions to more risk than was reasonably sustainable. It is sufficient to look at the fate of large and small credit institutions during the crises that broke out in the 1980s and 1990s, and finally in the 2008 crisis.
Again in the last part of the twentieth century, there was a growing tendency to define the strategic directions of economic and financial policy in terms of ‘clubs’ and of larger or smaller groups of more developed countries. While not denying the positive aspects of this approach, it is impossible to overlook that it did not appear to respect the representative principle fully, in particular of the less developed or emerging countries.
The need to heed the voices of a greater number of countries has led to expanding the relevant groups; for instance, there is now a G20 where there was once just a G7. This has been a positive development because it became possible to include developing and emerging countries with larger populations in shaping the economy and global finance.
In the area of the G20, concrete tendencies can thus mature which, when worked out properly in the appropriate technical centres, will be able to guide the competent bodies on the national and regional level towards consolidating existing institutions and creating new ones with appropriate and effective instruments on the international level.
Moreover, the G20 leaders themselves said in their final Statement in Pittsburgh 2009: “The economic crisis demonstrates the importance of ushering in a new era of sustainable global economic activity grounded in responsibility”. To tackle the crisis and open up a new era “of responsibility”, in addition to technical and short-term measures, the leaders put forth the proposal “to reform the global architecture to meet the needs of the 21st century,” and later the proposal “to launch a framework that lays out the policies and the way we act together to generate strong, sustainable and balanced global growth”.
Therefore, a process of reflection and reforms needs to be launched that will explore creative and realistic avenues for taking advantage of the positive aspects of already existing forums.
Specific attention should be paid to the reform of the international monetary system and, in particular, the commitment to create some form of global monetary management, something that is already implicit in the Statutes of the International Monetary Fund. It is obvious that to some extent this is equivalent to putting the existing exchange systems up for discussion in order to find effective means of coordination and supervision. This process must also involve the emerging and developing countries in defining the stages of a gradual adaptation of the existing instruments.
In fact, one can see an emerging requirement for a body that will carry out the functions of a kind of “central world bank” that regulates the flow and system of monetary exchanges similar to the national central banks. The underlying logic of peace, coordination and common vision which led to the Bretton Woods Agreements needs to be dusted off in order to provide adequate answers to the current questions. On the regional level, this process could begin by strengthening the existing institutions, such as the European Central Bank. However, this would require not only a reflection on the economic and financial level, but also and first of all on the political level, so as to create the set of public institutions that will guarantee the unity and consistency of the common decisions.
These measures ought to be conceived of as some of the first steps in view of a public Authority with universal jurisdiction; as a first stage in a longer effort by the global community to steer its institutions towards achieving the common good. Other stages will have to follow in which the dynamics familiar to us may become more marked, but they may also be accompanied by changes which would be useless to try to predict today.
In this process, the primacy of the spiritual and of ethics needs to be restored and, with them, the primacy of politics – which is responsible for the common good – over the economy and finance. These latter need to be brought back within the boundaries of their real vocation and function, including their social function, in consideration of their obvious responsibilities to society, in order to nourish markets and financial institutions which are really at the service of the person, which are capable of responding to the needs of the common good and universal brotherhood, and which transcend all forms of economist stagnation and performative mercantilism.
On the basis of this sort of ethical approach, it seems advisable to reflect, for example, on:
a) taxation measures on financial transactions through fair but modulated rates with charges proportionate to the complexity of the operations, especially those made on the “secondary” market. Such taxation would be very useful in promoting global development and sustainability according to the principles of social justice and solidarity. It could also contribute to the creation of a world reserve fund to support the economies of the countries hit by crisis as well as the recovery of their monetary and financial system;
b) forms of recapitalization of banks with public funds making the support conditional on “virtuous” behaviours aimed at developing the “real economy”;
c) the definition of the domains of ordinary credit and of Investment Banking. This distinction would allow a more effective management of the “shadow markets” which have no controls and limits.
It is sensible and realistic to allow the necessary time to build up broad consensuses, but the goal of the universal common good with its inescapable demands is waiting on the horizon. Moreover, it is hoped that those in universities and other institutions who educate tomorrow's leadership will work hard to prepare them for their responsibilities to discern the global public good and serve it in a constantly changing world. The gap between ethical training and technical preparation needs to be filled by highlighting in a particular way the inescapable synergy between the two levels of practical doing (praxis) and of boundless human striving (poièsis).
The same effort is required from all those who are in a position to enlighten world public opinion in order to help it to brave this new world, no longer with anxiety but in hope and solidarity.
Under the current uncertainties, in a society capable of mobilizing immense means but whose cultural and moral reflection is still inadequate with regard to their use in achieving the appropriate ends, we are invited to not give in and to build above all a meaningful future for the generations to come. We should not be afraid to propose new ideas, even if they might destabilize pre-existing balances of power that prevail over the weakest. They are a seed thrown to the ground that will sprout and hurry towards bearing fruit.
As Benedict XVI exhorts us, agents on all levels – social, political, economic, professional – are urgently needed who have the courage to serve and to promote the common good through an upright life. Only they will succeed in living and seeing beyond the appearances of things and perceiving the gap between existing reality and untried possibilities.
Paul VI emphasized the revolutionary power of “forward-looking imagination” that can perceive the possibilities inscribed in the present and guide people towards a new future. By freeing his imagination, man frees his existence. Through an effort of community imagination, it is possible to transform not only institutions but also lifestyles and encourage a better future for all peoples.
Modern States became structured wholes over time and reinforced sovereignty within their own territory. But social, cultural and political conditions have gradually changed. Their interdependence has grown – so it has become natural to think of an international community that is integrated and increasingly ruled by a shared system – but a worse form of nationalism has lingered on, according to which the State feels it can achieve the good of its own citizens in a self-sufficient way.
Today all of this seems anachronistic and surreal, and all the nations, great or small, together with their governments, are called to go beyond the “state of nature” which would keep States in a never-ending struggle with one another. Globalization, despite some of its negative aspects, is unifying peoples more and prompting them to move towards a new “rule of law” on the supranational level, supported by a more intense and fruitful collaboration. With dynamics similar to those that put an end in the past to the “anarchical” struggle between rival clans and kingdoms with regard to the creation of national states, today humanity needs to be committed to the transition from a situation of archaic struggles between national entities, to a new model of a more cohesive, polyarchic international society that respects every people's identity within the multifaceted riches of a single humanity. Such a passage, which is already timidly under way, would ensure the citizens of all countries – regardless of their size or power – peace and security, development, and free, stable and transparent markets. As John Paul II warns us, “Just as the time has finally come when in individual States a system of private vendetta and reprisal has given way to the rule of law, so too a similar step forward is now urgently needed in the international community.”
Time has come to conceive of institutions with universal competence, now that vital goods shared by the entire human family are at stake, goods which the individual States cannot promote and protect by themselves.
So conditions exist for definitively going beyond a ‘Westphalian’ international order in which the States feel the need for cooperation but do not seize the opportunity to integrate their respective sovereignties for the common good of peoples.
It is the task of today’s generation to recognize and consciously to accept these new world dynamics for the achievement of a universal common good. Of course, this transformation will be made at the cost of a gradual, balanced transfer of a part of each nation’s powers to a world Authority and to regional Authorities, but this is necessary at a time when the dynamism of human society and the economy and the progress of technology are transcending borders, which are in fact already very eroded in a globalized world.
The birth of a new society and the building of new institutions with a universal vocation and competence are a prerogative and a duty for everyone, with no distinction. What is at stake is the common good of humanity and the future itself.
In this context, for every Christian there is a special call of the Spirit to become committed decisively and generously so that the many dynamics under way will be channelled towards prospects of fraternity and the common good. An immense amount of work is to be done towards the integral development of peoples and of every person. As the Fathers said at the Second Vatican Council, this is a mission that is both social and spiritual, which “ to the extent that the former can contribute to the better ordering of human society, it is of vital concern to the Kingdom of God.”
In a world on its way to rapid globalization, the reference to a world Authority becomes the only horizon compatible with the new realities of our time and the needs of humankind. However, it should not be forgotten that this development, given wounded human nature, will not come about without anguish and suffering.
Through the account of the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9), the Bible warns us how the “diversity” of peoples can turn into a vehicle for selfishness and an instrument of division. In humanity there is a real risk that peoples will end up not understanding each other and that cultural diversities will lead to irremediable oppositions. The image of the Tower of Babel also warns us that we must avoid a “unity” that is only apparent, where selfishness and divisions endure because the foundations of the society are not stable. In both cases, Babel is the image of what peoples and individuals can become when they do not recognize their intrinsic transcendent dignity and brotherhood.
The spirit of Babel is the antithesis of the Spirit of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-12), of God’s design for the whole of humanity: that is, unity in truth. Only a spirit of concord that rises above divisions and conflicts will allow humanity to be authentically one family and to conceive of a new world with the creation of a world public Authority at the service of the common good.
|With these words, in the prophetic and always relevant Encyclical Populorum Progressio of 1967, Paul VI outlined in a clear way “the trajectories” of the Church’s close relation with the world.|
|The grave economic and financial crisis which the world is going through today springs from multiple causes.|
|QUOTE (Gregorio Sarto @ Oct 24 2011, 05:51 PM)|
|Would this be an opportune moment to remind ppl that Pius XI was a supporter of the League of Nations, in the earlier part of the C.20th...?|
|...It goes back before Vatican II. And whenever some silly person tries to condemn Charles Mauras, they cite Pius XI's condemnation of him as proof, whereas the truth is that it was Pius XI who was off-centre, at least as far as his politics were concerned...|
|QUOTE (Br. Anthony @ T.O.S.F.,Oct 24 2011, 02:38 PM)|
|The Freemasons could not have written a better piece.|
|QUOTE (Clare @ Oct 24 2011, 05:42 PM)|
And that Pius XII seemed to think the UN was ok...
Or, he might have been right on both, or neither, or one or the other.
Charles Maurras was hardly beyond reproach!
|I am also awaiting Michael Hoffman's forthcoming book on usury. Mr. Hoffman has been instrumental in exposing how "Catholics" assisted the infiltration of Judaism/Kabbala into the Church, a process that has accelerated since the Renaissance [of paganism]. His book on usury promises to explain how "Catholics" subverted the perennial Magisterium against usury.|
|QUOTE (Feeneyite @ Oct 24 2011, 06:53 PM)|
|This isn't necissarily from the pope though, right? I mean the Vatican can say all kinds of things, taht doesn't mean it comes from the Holy Father....|
|QUOTE (Gregorio Sarto @ Oct 24 2011, 07:05 PM)|
No, you're quite right Feenyite. It comes from "The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace" and via Vatican Radio, both of which are notorious for this sort of thing.
Although having said that, even the part of its name ("Justice and Peace"??? Surely that's something that comes as a by-product of the mission of the Church as a whole??) belies it. One has to wonder what the Pope wants with such a body having official Vatican status.
Next thing you know there'll be a "Pontifical Council to Combat Global Warming", a "Pontifical Race-Relations, Tolerance, Equality and Diversity Council", maybe a "Pontifical Council against Smoking" and why not, for good measure, "Pontifical Council for the Prevention of people being unkind to Little Fluffy Kittens" .....!
|QUOTE (hollingsworth @ Oct 24 2011, 04:31 PM)|
That's why most of us can not practically support or actively participate in the "Church," because of its "close relation with the world." He outlined the problem beautifully.
No, it springs from basically one cause, viz. fiat money in the hands of a relatively few powerful bankers, who print it, loan it out at interest, and arbitrarily decide what its value should be at any given time. These bankers, for the most part, embrace a religion, at least culturally, which is inimical to Christ, to Christian nation states and to Christian culture generally. The causes are not "multiple," but singular.
|QUOTE (Gregorio Sarto @ Oct 24 2011, 07:35 PM)|
|... one, tiny, out-of-context quote from Pius XII (did you ever even find the source for it??!!) ...|
No one expects or demands the impossible, not even from the United Nations; but one should have a right to expect that their authority should have had its weight, at least through observers, in the places in which the essential values of man are in extreme danger.
Although the United Nations’ condemnation of the grave violations of the rights of men and of entire nations is worthy of recognition, one can nevertheless wish that, in similar cases, the exercise of their rights, as members of this Organization, be denied to States which refuse even the admission of observers – thus showing that their concept of State sovereignty threatens the very foundations of the United Nations.
This organization ought also to have the right and the power of forestalling all military intervention of one State in another, whatever be the pretext under which it is effected, and also the right and power of assuming, by means of a sufficient police force, the safeguarding of order in the State which is threatened.
If We allude to these defects, it is because We desire to see strengthened the authority of the U.N. especially for effecting general disarmament which We have so much at heart, and on which We have already spoken in other discourses. In fact only in the ambit of an institution like the United Nations can the promise of individual nations to reduce armament, especially to abandon production and use of certain arms, be mutually exchanged under the strict obligation of international law.
Likewise only the United Nations is at present in a position to exact the observance of this obligation by assuming effective control of the armaments of all nations without exception.
|QUOTE (Gregorio Sarto @ Oct 24 2011, 08:05 PM)|
|"Pontifical Council for the Prevention of people being unkind to Little Fluffy Kittens"|
|QUOTE (Francisco Logar @ Oct 24 2011, 01:07 PM)|
I think the Freemasons DID write this
|QUOTE (Athanasius @ Oct 24 2011, 07:31 PM)|
|You left out the "Pontifical Council of Reproductive Rights and Pederasty Promotion."|
- In this conception is true then for the Church that a marriage postpone the decision to become parents?
'Of course, and it is your responsibility. Can not impose one. The issue of children is not a mechanical obligation.
|- What is the position of the church when a woman is a victim of rape and wants to prevent conception? |
'That woman has every right in the world to do everything possible to prevent the pregnancy occurring once raped.
|QUOTE (Cristera @ Oct 24 2011, 03:21 PM)|
|The Church ... seeks but one goal: to carry forward the work of Christ under the lead of the befriending Spirit.|
|And that Pius XII seemed to think the UN was ok...|
|QUOTE (hollingsworth @ Oct 25 2011, 04:55 AM)|
| Clare: |
Judging only from the quote you provided, Clare, that would not be my assessment of Pius XII's feelings about the UN. You might say that he thought the UN had the potential to be an effective world body, but had thus far not lived up to its mandate in several areas.
|...We desire to see strengthened the authority of the U.N. especially for effecting general disarmament which We have so much at heart, and on which We have already spoken in other discourses. In fact only in the ambit of an institution like the United Nations can the promise of individual nations to reduce armament, especially to abandon production and use of certain arms, be mutually exchanged under the strict obligation of international law.|
|QUOTE (Gregorio Sarto @ Oct 24 2011, 07:35 PM)|
Perhaps. But nor was condemning his organisation to the point where anyone would be excommunicated for being a member, or even subscribing to Action Francais justified.
And then there is the small problem that it was St. Pius X who actually encouraged him in the first place. And the same Pope said that Maurass would never be condemned as long as he was alive. And the fact that one of the first things Pius XII on becoming Pope was to lift the condemnation.
|The facts are that the entire committee of the paper, headed by the leaders, Charles Maurras and Leon Daudet, sent a humble letter of regret, disavowed all error and gave guarantees of respect for the Catholic religion in the future. Only when the French Cardinals had been consulted and had agreed, did Pius lift the ban. Maurras died a fervent Catholic.|
|QUOTE (Cristera @ Oct 25 2011, 12:01 AM)|
|QUOTE (Clare @ Oct 24 2011, 08:13 PM)|
|Vatican council proposes a global financial authority|
By David Kerr
Vatican City, Oct 24, 2011 / 12:30 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace is calling for the creation of a new global authority which it hopes can make economic decisions based on the international common good rather than individual national interest.
The document on the economy, which was unveiled Oct. 24 at a Vatican press conference, was drafted with an eye to contributing to the upcoming G-20 summit, which will focus on the international monetary system and strengthening financial regulations.
It aims to “propose a reflection on possible ways forward--in line with the most recent social Magesterium--that are effective and representative at a global level, and which seek the authentic human development of all individuals and peoples,” said Bishop Mario Toso S.D.B., Secretary of the Justice and Peace council, in comments to the media.
The 20-page document is entitled “Towards reforming the international financial and monetary systems in the context of a global public authority.”
The document notes how economic globalization has meant that “between 1900 and 2000 the world population increased almost fourfold and the wealth produced worldwide grew much more rapidly,” while at the same time “the distribution of wealth did not become fairer but in many cases worsened.”
It adds that “today the modern means of communication make these great economic, social and cultural inequalities obvious to everyone, rich and poor alike,” giving rise to international tension and mass migration.
The document then reflects upon the roots of the present global economic crisis, and sets ethical parameters for a sustainable recovery, before concluding with some practical policy considerations.
Historically, it blames three strains of thought for the current crisis: economic liberalism, utilitarianism and technocracy.
The council writes that economic liberalism “spurns rules and controls” being placed on the free market but runs into trouble when such doctrinaire “laws of capitalistic development” do not reflect or explain economic realities. Such a system “runs the risk of becoming an instrument subordinated to the interests of the countries that effectively enjoy a position of economic and financial advantage,” it says.
Utilitarian thinking believes that “what is useful for the individual leads to the good of the community.” However, the document observes that sometimes “individual utility–even where it is legitimate –does not always favor the common good.”
In a technocracy all the problems that need tackling are seen as “exclusively of a technical nature,” which leads to those issues escaping “the needed discernment and ethical evaluation.”
But global markets require global ethics if they are to function properly, the council emphasized.
The document suggests that the present crisis has uncovered “behaviors like selfishness, collective greed and the hoarding of goods on a great scale.” Such a spectacle should motivate people to action as “no one can be content with seeing man live like ‘a wolf to his fellow man,’ according to the concept expounded by Hobbes,” it says.
Cardinal Peter Turkson, President of the Council for Justice and Peace, reflected on the current global situation in the preface of the publication. “The economic and financial crisis which the world is going through calls everyone, individuals and peoples, to examine in depth the principles and the cultural and moral values at the basis of social coexistence,” he said.
The document recalls how Pope John XXIII hoped in his 1963 encyclical “Pacem in Terris” (Peace on Earth) that one day “a true world political authority” would be created.
“A supranational Authority of this kind should have a realistic structure and be set up gradually,” it says.
However, it also cautions that “an Authority with a global reach that cannot be imposed by force, coercion or violence,” but only through “free and shared agreement” on the needs of “the world common good.”
And, the pontifical council said, in keeping with the principle of subsidiarity, which advocates always dealing with problems at the lowest or more local level of authority possible, the authority should intervene in global matters only when “individual, social or financial actors are intrinsically deficient in capacity, or cannot manage by themselves to do what is required of them.”
The suggestions issued today by Justice and Peace recognize that “a long road still needs to be traveled before arriving at the creation of a public Authority with universal jurisdiction,” and proposes that the reform or enhancing of present institutions such as the United Nations, International Monetary Fund or European Central Bank could be a starting point.
In terms of policy priorities it suggests that the global authority should prioritize “those regarding global social justice,” including crafting “financial and monetary policies that will not damage the weakest countries; and policies aimed at achieving free and stable markets and a fair distribution of world wealth.”
The document then gives three practical ideas for consideration: a financial transaction tax, making state backing of banks conditional on “virtuous” behavior, and a greater separation between retail and investment banking.
It also calls for moral training for those working in financial industries because “the gap between ethical training and technical preparation needs to be filled.”
It concludes by saying that the “time has come to conceive of institutions with universal competence, now that vital goods shared by the entire human family are at stake, goods which the individual States cannot promote and protect by themselves.”
|QUOTE (Apoc. III, 1-6 @ Oct 26 2011, 04:17 AM)|
:rofl: Isn't he/she cute?
Kind of reminds me of Alfred Hitchcock. :lol:
|Michael O’Brien comments on Vatican call for ‘world financial authority’|
by Michael O’Brien
Thu Oct 27, 2011 18:05 EST
October 27, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - There is, apparently, much that is good in the “Note on Financial Reform…” from the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. However, while its author(s) seem to draw upon the fundamental principles of the major social encyclicals of the past 120 years, the problem is what they do with the material. In short, they take it and run wild with it:
With an almost seamless slide they take papal documents farther than what was ever intended by the Popes. For example, they cite selectively a passage in Pope Benedict’s encyclical Caritas in Veritate in which Benedict does speak of the need for development of world political authority as a means “to manage the global economy; to revive economies hit by the crisis; to avoid any deterioration of the present crisis and the greater imbalances that would result; to bring about integral and timely disarmament, food security and peace; to guarantee the protection of the environment and to regulate migration.”
But what exactly does the Pope mean by a world political authority? In another passage of the encyclical he writes:
“In order not to produce a dangerous universal power of a tyrannical nature, the governance of globalization must be marked by subsidiarity.” Subsidiarity is the Catholic principle that the exercise of responsible authority must, in all justice, be managed by the least centralized, by the smallest, “lowest”, and most personalist competent authority—a principle that is in direct contradiction to those who advocate one world government. Moreover, in the encyclical the Pope emphasized that no form of government can be truly just unless it has as a fundamental principle the absolute value of human life from conception to natural death. He exhorted the human community to become more co-responsible, to safeguard the ethical and moral rights of individuals and peoples. In this and other writings, he has consistently urged mankind to adopt a global solidarity, a universal brotherhood that cuts across all economic and political lines, yet does not violate the sovereignty of nations.
In paragraph 41 of Caritas in Veritate, for example, he writes that “We must promote a dispersed political authority. ... The integrated economy of the present day does not make the role of States redundant, but rather it commits governments to greater collaboration with one another. Both wisdom and prudence suggest not being too precipitous in declaring the demise of the State. In terms of the resolution of the current crisis, the State’s role seems destined to grow, as it regains many of its competences. In some nations, moreover, the construction or reconstruction of the State remains a key factor in their development.”
Why, then, does the Note from the PCJP not present these crucial qualifiers but instead asserts that, “In the same spirit of Pacem in Terris, Benedict XVI himself expressed the need to create a world political authority.”?
Benedict’s encyclical intends no more, and no less, than encouragement of increased international cooperation, a mutual compact of nations that would create governing agencies to administer the shared interests of those nations for the common good of mankind. He certainly did not urge the establishment of a global super-State, for in his other writings and talks he has strongly critiqued this very form of government, which the Note asserts he does promote. In fact, both John Paul II and Benedict XVI have repeatedly warned about the grave dangers inherent in such a project.
Citing the Book of Genesis and the story of the Tower of Babel, the PCJP note warns of two alternative dangers: on one hand, aberrations arising from excessive “diversity” and, on the other hand, a false “unity.” The author(s) of the note, in their enthusiasm, primarily motivated by their concern for the underdeveloped nations and their suffering populations, apparently see diversity as the greater danger. They have made a quantum leap from the Church’s wise approach to international relations in the emerging globalization to an urgent plea for one world government. This, to say the least, is horribly naive, and it also flies in the face of the warnings Pope Benedict has been giving in many forums.
While valid arguments can be made for a world financial authority that regulates economy (again, with crucial qualifiers, especially the need to found policy on the absolute value of all human beings), this in no way demands the establishment of a planetary “Authority” that would rule us all. Such a governance would run the risk of inflating ultra-nationalism to a planetary scale. And on that scale there would be no place to live out humane alternatives if the Authority should ever go bad—which, considering human nature and the history of mankind, is not unlikely. The author(s) of the Note are aware of the dangers, yet minimalize them. The points they make, drawing upon Genesis, the first book of Scriptures, seem to have been made without sober reflection on the final book of Scriptures.
|Bring back the days when Emperors crawled on their knees to Canossa and the Pope was the mediator between the princes of the world|
|QUOTE (Murphy @ Nov 3 2011, 11:57 PM)|
|I completely agree. It's time for a global public authority. And who better than the Bishop of Rome, the Supreme Pontiff? It was an office occupied by Peter's successors for centuries.|
|Vatican’s controversial plan for financial reform|
“Economic liberalism”, based on utilitarianism and materialism, is the root cause of the global financial crisis, Catholic scholars argue.
As 2012 begins, the economic crisis of the last four years shows no sign of subsiding. The present world upheaval is now considered comparable to the Great Depression. The US and Europe are so paralyzed by debt that significant recovery looks remote. Plans for social service cuts and hefty tax hikes are provoking social and political unrest. Millions of people in the wealthier countries are suffering serious hardships with the worst damage likely still to come – meanwhile, well over a billion people in the developing countries are forced to get by on little more than US$1 per day.
Recently religious leaders have spoken out about how to reform the world economy to promote a more humane and ethical system. The most perceptive and comprehensive example was published last October by the Vatican’s Council on Peace and Social Justice (PCPJ) called “Reforming the International Financial and Monetary Systems in the Context of Global Public Authority.”
The authors, a team of Vatican scholars led by Cardinal Peter K.A. Turkson of Ghana, attribute many of our current ills to the doctrine of “economic liberalism”, which they say is based on “utilitarianism and materialism.” It is a highly readable analysis with a vision for a more integrated and stable financial and monetary system, which the authors believe would usher in an era of sustained and more widespread economic development.
The document was issued to coincide with a crucial meeting of the Group of 20 – the leaders of the world’s largest economies – who stated in 2009 that “the economic crisis demonstrates the importance of ushering in a new era of sustainable global economic activity grounded in responsibility.” The document identifies the devastating role of “financial speculation” and “unlimited credit” which wrecked havoc on the “productive” economy. At present, say the authors, the world economy is so dominated by avarice and corruption that one can speak of an “ethical breakdown”.
Many of the insights into the root causes of the crisis presented by the Catholic Council have been glossed over by most leading economists and financial experts. The critique is very similar to remarks made by Pope John Paul II. In 1991 he warned of an “idolatry of the market, an idolatry which ignores the existence of goods which by their nature are not and cannot be mere commodities.” He continued that we “ought to have a keen sense of belonging to the human family, which means sharing in the common dignity of all human beings.”
The proposal was received by the world financial media with a mixture of indifference and hostility. But, curiously, the bulk of unfavorable comments came from Catholic writers in conservative American magazines and think tanks. They were particularly upset at the criticisms of free trade doctrine, international markets, and also by the statement’s bold recommendation for creating a world financial authority to coordinate and regulate world economic transactions.
Overall, there are ample reasons to applaud the significant achievements of globalization. From 1980 to 2010, global trade grew fourfold. As national income rose, countless millions were lifted from poverty; new middle classes arose in Asia and Latin America. Nevertheless, inequalities within and between countries say the authors, have also multiplied, making far too many families poorer and more vulnerable.
One crucial factor in the crisis is the role played by monetary and financial markets which are increasingly divorced from the production of actual goods and services. “The speculative bubble in the real estate and the recent financial crisis,” say the authors, “has the very same origin in the excessive amount of money and the plethora of financial instruments globally.”
Speculative markets have grown exponentially: “In recent decades banks extended credit which generated money, which in turn sought further expansion of credit.” The instability triggered a series of crises that lead eventually to the US housing collapse. “In material goods markets,” the Pontifical Council stated, “natural factors and productive capacity as well as labor in all its any forms set quantitative limits” which permit an efficient allocation of resources.
However, monetary and financial markets are an exception and without proper regulation can spiral out of control. To cite one example, the former Prime Minister of the UK, Gordon Brown, estimated that the total value of world derivatives (mostly speculative wagers) had grown to an unfathomable figure of over $500 trillion by 2008. That sum is 12 times the entire world’s yearly economic output!
A “liberalist” approach,” which rejects prudent public intervention in the market, says the PCPJ, has had devastating effects on the real economy, employment, production and international trade. Economic liberalism, say the authors, “Is a theoretical system of thought, a form of ‘economic apriorism.’ It purports to derive the laws for how markets function from theory, these being laws of capitalistic development, but it exaggerates certain aspects of markets and downplays or ignores others.”
The Council says such an “a priori” belief in laws, “without measuring them against reality, risks becoming a tool subordinated to the interests of the countries that effectively enjoy a position of economic and financial advantage.”
Exactly three years ago, one of the most lauded free market experts who served for 18 years as US Federal Reserve Chairman made a stunning declaration. Alan Greenspan told a Congressional committee that he had found “a fundamental flaw in the edifice of market economics. Greenspan was candid in confessing that much of what he had always believed was altogether erroneous.
In his recent book Beyond the Crash: Overcoming the First Crisis of Globalisation, Gordon Brown admits that the leading authorities “had not fully appreciated that moral norms were not constraining the behavior of those competing across complex and interlocked global entities.”
According to economist Robert J. Samuelson, “the 2007-09 financial crisis, having started in the US discredited American ideas and competence… A world of increasing interconnected economies requires greater cooperation – but everywhere there is a fragmentation of power and purpose.”
Along these lines, the PCJP offered its proposal to establish a world financial authority to permit better coordination of the process of globalization, and to work toward a more just, and sustainable path for world economic development. Such a coordinating body would be “the outcome of a free and shared agreement”, designed to incorporate the interests of billions of people around the world, “including nations and cultures that have little influence.” It would be set up gradually within a suitable legal framework. It would support free and stable markets including a “well functioning (legal framework) in support of sustainable development and social progress of all, and inspired by the values of charity and truth.”
Beginning with the Rerum Novarum (On Capital and Labor) in 1893, the Catholic Church has published a series of insightful and influential social encyclicals which apply the moral outlook of Church teachings to contemporary ethical issues and social ills. According to veteran Catholic reporter Paul Likoudis, every theme in the October statement is entirely consistent with “a long line of Vatican appeals.”
Even the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, remarked, “There is help to be had from…. a bold statement on our financial situation.” He endorsed its sound suggestions “to minimize the damage of certain current practices and assumptions in the immediate future.”
Only days after its release a number of well known Catholic publications and free market advocates immediately raised a series of red flags. Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Father Robert Sirico, president of the Acton Institute, commented, “This is a sophisticated economic analysis... but discerning the disease and finding the cure are very different undertakings.”
He strongly disagreed that there is a need for such a “global financial authority.” Similarly, Phillip Lawler praised the analysis for affirming that “utilitarian standards are inadequate to define the common good” and says “there are many lessons that financiers could learn from Church teaching.” But he derided the statement as riddled with “flakey leftist theory” and advised authors, “leave economic analysis to the economists.”
The most peculiar retort came from Mark Brumley of Catholic World Report who joked that, “the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace might just as well call for the establishment of Star Trek’s United Federation of Planets. It would have just as much likelihood of providing solutions to our problems.”
Despite the controversy over economics, there are many reasons to welcome the appeal of this insightful document. We need a spirit of confidence to overcome the spread of confusion and despair.
It also furthers the important debate about the limitations of a rigid secularism which sees moral and ethical issues as irrelevant or out of bounds. This can often be seen in utilitarian thinking – the idea that what is best for the individual leads always to the best solution. The authors commented that despite having some validity, “it can not be ignored that individual utility – even where legitimate – does not always favor the common good.”
Although there is no ideal financial and economic model, the world crisis makes it urgent that we make dramatic adjustments. Certainly this would mean transparent institutions and improved international relations that provide better opportunity – including a fairer distribution of wealth, and more universal access to economic development. The economic ‘note’ can be seen as a petition calling on world leaders to consider a greater respect for our Judeo-Christian heritage and other moral based traditions. Religious leaders should not be discouraged or remain silent at this critical time.
David J. Peterson is an author and a high school teacher with a degree in economics. He lives in Chicago.
|Vatican City, Oct 24, 2011 / 12:30 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace is calling for the creation of a new global authority which it hopes can make economic decisions based on the international common good rather than individual national interest.|