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Capital serves humans, not vice versa, Pope reminds European bankers

Catholic World News - June 14, 2010

"Economy and finance are not ends unto themselves," Pope Benedict XVI reminded a group of European bankers at a private audience on June 12. He stressed that economic systems must serve human persons and families, reminding the financiers that human capital is “the only capital worth saving.”

The Pope urged the leaders of the Council of Europe Development Bank to examine the path the European Union has taken since its inception, and especially in the years since the collapse of the Soviet empire. He questioned whether “freedom from totalitarian ideologies has not been used solely for economic progress, at the expense of a more human development.” The Holy Father spoke about the failure of the European Union to offer an explicit recognition of the role that Christianity has played in the formation of European society, and pointed out that a political union formed only for the purpose of economic convenience is built on a very weak foundation—a message that carries special force today, as the European Union nations question the future of their economic ties in light of the debt crises facing several countries.

Pope Benedict did have a positive message for the Council of Europe Development Bank, thanking the institution’s representatives for their help ‘with problems affecting refugees.” That involvement, he said, is a distinct contribution to the cause of solidarity in Europe.

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  • Posted by: jflare293129 - Jun. 15, 2010 9:43 PM ET USA

    Far too many Catholics assume that economic justice requires strong, centralized--federal--control. Some might contend that JP II sought a socialistic ideal. However, to my knowledge, the Church has never taught this. The Church HAS constantly pressed businesses and politicians to reject greed. We've done VERY poorly as a Church in understanding how capitalistic ideas and charity can go together well.

  • Posted by: extremeCatholic - Jun. 14, 2010 10:18 PM ET USA

    Does anyone have the PowerPoint from the Vatican on the specifics of the new world order that is supposed to replace the current economic system? It's a good bet that it empowers centralized charitable bureaucracies answerable to the government and not to local non-government-affiliated charities answerable to a local board of directors.

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