Pope calls for 'God-centered' global economy

The "true world political authority" that Benedict calls for should keep solutions as simple and local as possible but still create solidarity for the common good.

Reese notes the "strong language here on the redistribution of wealth — not something people like to talk about in the USA. If the Catholic right is against the redistribution of wealth, they're against the pope. He doesn't believe an unregulated marketplace is going to solve all the problems of economy and poverty."

Kirk Hanson, executive director of the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara (Calif.) University, praised Benedict for including an emphasis on "life ethics" as "essential" to a healthy social and economic order.

Lew Daly, senior fellow at Demos, a New York City-based public policy organization and author of God's Economy: Faith-Based Initiatives and the Caring State, praised the text as "a turning point for the church and particularly for the American church, because our nation and our society is both the epicenter of wealth and the epicenter of inequality.

"Nearly half of the world's population lives on less than $2.50 a day and nearly 80% live on less than $10 a day. In the meantime a relative handful of corporations and wealthy families have grown rich far beyond the greatest emperors and kings of the past.

"There may be growth, but a faithful Catholic does not call this progress, the pope argues, until the growth is more equitably shared according to the design of the Creator," says Daly.

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