Pope’s Caritas in Veritate Offers New Vision

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Caritas Internationalis welcomes the emphasis on putting ethics back into the global economy as outlined in Pope Benedict XVI’s Caritas in Veritate (Charity in Truth).

Caritas Internationalis Secretary-General Lesley-Anne Knight said, “Caritas in Veritate rightly highlights how a blind pursuit of profits divorced of ethics had become detrimental to progress, people, and the planet we live on.

Pope Benedict says that only in charity guided by faith and reason is it possible to pursue development goals that possess a more humane and humanizing value.

“The risk for our time is that the de facto interdependence of people and nations is not matched by ethical interaction of consciences and minds that would give rise to truly human development,” he said.

Pope Benedict XVI says in the encyclical that while some have benefited over the last four decades, “other zones are still living in a situation of deprivation comparable to that which existed at the time of Paul VI, and in some cases one can even speak of a deterioration.”

The Pope highlights the deregulation of markets, calling for a greater role of the State and politics in the economy and a return to the ethical foundations of finance. “The articulation of political authority at the local, national and international levels is one of the best ways of giving direction to the process of economic globalisation. It is also the way to ensure that it does not actually undermine the foundations of democracy,” he said.

Pope Benedict called for more and better aid: “Economic aid, in order to be true to its purpose, must not pursue secondary objectives. It must be distributed with the involvement not only of the governments of receiving countries, but also local economic agents and the bearers of culture within civil society, including local Churches.”

“More economically developed nations should do all they can to allocate larger portions of their gross domestic product to development aid, thus respecting the obligations that the international community has undertaken in this regard,” he said, suggesting taxpayers in rich countries be allowed to decide how they allocate a portion of their taxes.

The Pope urged the international community to come together in recognizing “our grave duty to hand the earth on to future generations in such a condition that they too can worthily inhabit it and continue to cultivate it.”

He said governments must “ensure that the economic and social costs of using up shared environmental resources are recognized with transparency and fully borne by those who incur them, not by other peoples or future generations.”

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