On Monday the Vatican will release a text on global financial reform. If you are unfamiliar with Catholic social teaching, you may be surprised by how radical it is. Some of the previews I’ve read, e.g. Fr Tom Reese, suggest that Benedict XVI has pulled no punches in condemning corruption and greed and has provided a thoughtful and profound analysis of economic activity. In his wonderful encyclical Caritas in Veritate (2009), as in subsequent teaching, the pope has insisted that ‘globalisation makes us neighbours but does not make us brothers’ and called for a people-centred ethics which would ensure the distributive justice consistently urged by the Church.
Those protestors sitting in the cold outside St Paul’s are probably closer to Benedict XVI’s thinking than some of the financiers and politicians whose conduct the pope scrutinizes. I would like to think that Monday will mark an important change, but I wonder whether anyone will be listening. Protestors are newsworthy; papal documents are not. Have we learned anything from the financial collapse of recent years?
The full text of the Vatican document in English may be found here. Please note that it is issued by the Pontifical Council for Peace and Justice, not the pope. My first impression is that the analysis is better than the suggestions for reform but I’ll study it properly tonight.