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Irish bishops condemn 'selfish' economic policies, support higher taxes

Catholic World News - February 21, 2011

Less than a week before elections in the Irish republic, the Irish bishops’ conference has released a statement charging that current public policies violate principles of justice and offend against the common good.

The statement released by the bishops’ committee on justice and peace, entitled From Crisis to Hope: Working to achieve the Common Good, said that the country’s current economic problems can be traced to immoral policies and perspectives. “Greed became dominant, trust was betrayed, and the result was the recession in which we now are,” said Bishop John Kirby of Clonfert, at a press conference in Dublin introducing the statement.

Bishop Raymond Field, a Dublin auxiliary who chairs the justice-and-peace committee, said: “Poverty and social exclusion, experienced by increasing numbers of people in Ireland today, North and South, represent gross violations of human dignity."

The bishops’ statement called for greater efforts to relieve poverty, both in Ireland and, through foreign aid, in developing countries. The statement suggested that Ireland’s tax rates must be raised to support the necessary social services.

Father Eoin Cassidy, a philosophy professor at Dublin City University and one of the main authors of the bishops’ statement, told the press conference that “the common good is damaged by economic policies that target the most vulnerable in society.” He argued at length against a bid to reduce the minimum wage.

Father Cassidy painted a bleak picture of Ireland’s current situation, suggesting that current economic difficulties have contributed to gross economic inequalities, a loss of self-esteem especially among the young, and “a breakdown of trust in societal institutions which as we say in the statement, if allowed to fester, could engender a cultural climate in which the spectre of social fragmentation and even violence cannot be ruled out.”

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Show 2 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: dover beachcomber - Feb. 24, 2011 5:44 PM ET USA

    The "official" Church in Ireland continues to spiral downward, due to its embrace of socialism. Instead of trying to force more money out of the better-off through taxation, the bishops should be urging every faithful Catholic to give sacrificially and voluntarily of their money AND their time to relieve the miseries of the poor.

  • Posted by: Steve214 - Feb. 21, 2011 8:39 PM ET USA

    Without the government, the builder builds in vain! Or was that quote from the Bible referencing God?

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