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Vatican foundation announces ‘economy and society’ book prize winners

Catholic World News - April 12, 2013

Books written by professors who teach at universities in Spain and Italy are the first winners of the Centesimus Annus - Pro Pontifice Foundation’s “economy and society” book award.

Ciudadania, migraciones y religion: Un dialogo etico desde la fe cristiana (Citizenship, Migration, and Religion: Ethical Dialogue from the Christian Faith) was written by Father Julio Luis Martínez, SJ, rector of Comillas Pontifical University in Madrid; L'economia del bene comune (The Economy of the Common Good) was written by Stefano Zamagni of the University of Bologna.

Named after Blessed John Paul II’s 1991 social encyclical and founded by the same Pope two years later, the foundation exists to promote Catholic social teaching.

The first book, said Cardinal Domenico Calcagno, president of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See,

highlights the fact that in the context of waning national sovereignty immigration calls for a new understanding of both the concept of citizenship and the relationship between religion and politics. Citizenship, belonging to a country, is traditionally part of one’s identity. But what does citizenship mean in a multicultural society, made up of people from widely different backgrounds? How can one reach out to the "stranger" without jeopardizing one’s identity? How can one relate to this stranger, his religion – which is often not the host country’s – without falling into relativism? Fr. Martínez is convinced that the Social Doctrine of the Church can provide real help, actually an indispensable contribution, towards an adequate answer to these questions.

Cardinal Calcagno, who oversees the activity of the foundation, stated that the second book

suggests we need to widen the range of fundamental categories that allow us to understand economic activity. Against a dominant model which considers market and State the only major economic players, Zamagni presents a third sphere of values (solidarity, entrepreneurship, sympathy) which neither efficiency nor a search for justice can fulfill. He is convinced that without these values of fraternity and reciprocity market and State cannot function. He believes in the need to make room for an economic space within the market (not outside or against it) where players are inspired by the principle of solidarity.

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