Skip to comments.Pope to G8: Money, politics and economics must serve, not rule
Posted on 06/16/2013 5:04:31 PM PDT by NYer
(Vatican Radio) Money, politics and economics must serve, not rule. They must serve people and promote an ethics of truth. This was the thread running through Pope Francis Letter to the British Prime Minister on the eve of the G8 Summit.The Holy Father's Letter was in response to one sent by David Cameron ahead of the Northern Ireland summit which gathers togther the leaders of the 8 most powerful nations in the world to the banks of Lough Erne. Listen:
In his letter, Pope Francis praises the priorities on the agenda of the British G8 Presidency: the free international market, taxation, and transparency on the part of governments and economic actors; concerted action to eliminate hunger and ensure food security and the protection of women and children from sexual violence in conflict situations.
In this regards Pope Francis writes that the G8 "cannot fail to address the situation in the Middle East, especially in Syria".He expresses the hope that the Summit will help to obtain "an immediate and lasting cease-fire and to bring all parties in the conflict to the negotiating table". "Peace is an essential pre-requisite for the protection of women, children and other innocent victims", and "conquering hunger".
Pope Francis writes that, "in a seemingly paradoxical way, free and disinterested solidarity is the key to the smooth functioning of the global economy". As such he concludes his letter "every economic and political theory or action must set about providing each inhabitant of the planet with the minimum wherewithal to live in dignity and freedom, with the possibility of supporting a family, educating children, praising God and developing one's own human potential. This is the main thing; in the absence of such a vision, all economic activity is meaningless".
Below please find the text of Pope Francis letter to the British Prime Minister:
To The Right Honourable David Cameron, MP Prime Minister
I am pleased to reply to your kind letter of 5 June 2013, with which you were good enough to inform me of your Government's agenda for the British G8 Presidency during the year 2013 and of the forthcoming Summit, due to take place at Lough Erne on 17 and 18 June 2013, entitled A G8 meeting that goes back to first principles.
If this topic is to attain its broadest and deepest resonance, it is necessary to ensure that all political and economic activity, whether national or international, makes reference to man. Indeed, such activity must, on the one hand, enable the maximum expression of freedom and creativity, both individual and collective, while on the other hand it must promote and guarantee their responsible exercise in solidarity, with particular attention to the poorest.
The priorities that the British Presidency has set out for the Lough Erne Summit are concerned above all with the free international market, taxation, and transparency on the part of governments and economic actors. Yet the fundamental reference to man is by no means lacking, specifically in the proposal for concerted action by the Group to eliminate definitively the scourge of hunger and to ensure food security. Similarly, a further sign of attention to the human person is the inclusion as one of the central themes on the agenda of the protection of women and children from sexual violence in conflict situations, even though it must be remembered that the indispensable context for the development of all the afore-mentioned political actions is that of international peace. Sadly, concern over serious international crises is a recurring theme in the deliberations of the G8, and this year it cannot fail to address the situation in the Middle East, especially in Syria.. In this regard, I earnestly hope that the Summit will help to obtain an immediate and lasting cease-fire and to bring all parties in the conflict to the negotiating table. Peace demands a far-sighted renunciation of certain claims, in order to build together a more equitable and just peace. Moreover, peace is an essential pre-requisite for the protection of women, children and other innocent victims, and for making a start towards conquering hunger, especially among the victims of war.
The actions included on the agenda of the British G8 Presidency, which point towards law as the golden thread of development as well as the consequent commitments to deal with tax avoidance and to ensure transparency and responsibility on the part of governments are measures that indicate the deep ethical roots of these problems, since, as my predecessor Benedict XVI made clear, the present global crisis shows that ethics is not something external to the economy, but is an integral and unavoidable element of economic thought and action.
The long-term measures that are designed to ensure an adequate legal framework for all economic actions, as well as the associated urgent measures to resolve the global economic crisis, must be guided by the ethics of truth. This includes, first and foremost, respect for the truth of man, who is not simply an additional economic factor, or a disposable good, but is equipped with a nature and a dignity that cannot be reduced to simple economic calculus. Therefore concern for the fundamental material and spiritual welfare of every human person is the starting-point for every political and economic solution and the ultimate measure of its effectiveness and its ethical validity.
Moreover, the goal of economics and politics is to serve humanity, beginning with the poorest and most vulnerable wherever they may be, even in their mothers' wombs. Every economic and political theory or action must set about providing each inhabitant of the planet with the minimum wherewithal to live in dignity and freedom, with the possibility of supporting a family, educating children, praising God and developing one's own human potential. This is the main thing; in the absence of such a vision, all economic activity is meaningless.
In this sense, the various grave economic and political challenges facing today's world require a courageous change of attitude that will restore to the end (the human person) and to the means (economics and politics) their proper place. Money and other political and economic means must serve, not rule, bearing in mind that, in a seemingly paradoxical way, free and disinterested solidarity is the key to the smooth functioning of the global economy.
I wished to share these thoughts with you, Prime Minister,, with a view to highlighting what is implicit in all political choices, but can sometimes be forgotten: the primary importance of putting humanity, every single man and woman, at the centre of all political and economic activity, both nationally and internationally, because man is the truest and deepest resource for politics and economics, as well as their ultimate end.
Dear Prime Minister, trusting that these thoughts have made a helpful spiritual contribution to your deliberations, I express my sincere hope for a fruitful outcome to your work and I invoke abundant blessings upon the Lough Erne Summit and upon all the participants, as well as upon the activities of the British G8 Presidency during the year 2013, and I take this opportunity to reiterate my good wishes and to express my sentiments of esteem.
Below please find the letter written to Pope Francis by Prime Minister Cameron
5 June 2013
When I said farewell to Pope Benedict at the end of his historic State Visit to Britain in September 2010, .I made a number of promises. I said that the United Kingdom would keep its promises on aid, in particular in dedicating 0.7% of GNI to international development aid, despite the tough economic times. I said that we would continue to help the poorest and ensure the money we spend on aid goes to those who need it most. I also promised that we would redouble our resolve to work for the common good, working closely with the Holy See.
In 2013, the United Kingdom holds the Presidency of the G8 group of nations. I am determined to ensure that our G8 agenda will lead to real benefits for the global economy and will help people in developed and developing countries alike. Your Holiness has spoken eloquently about the need to rebalance the global economy, to help the poor and disadvantaged, and to find people work. My aim for our G8 Presidency, especially at the G8 Summit at Lough Erne on 17 and 18 June, is to do this by restoring strong and sustainable growth to the world economy by practical action on fairer taxes, freer trade, and greater transparency.
I will use the G8 to galvanise collective international action to effectively tackle tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance - problems shared by developed and developing countries alike. We shall promote a new global standard for automatic information exchange between tax authorities to shrink the space for tax evasion. We shall provide political support for the ongoing OECD and G20 work to prevent some individuals and corporates artificially shifting their profits to ultra-low tax jurisdictions, distorting competition and seek to enhance the flow of information to tax authorities. We shall seek to set out concrete steps we will take to let law enforcement and tax collectors find out who really owns and controls every company. We shall also explore what more can be done by the G8 to support lower-income developing countries to collect the tax revenues owed to them, thereby strengthening their public services in areas like health and education on which people's well-being depends.
On trade, I know the Vatican has taken a keen interest in trade liberalisation, particularly the potential that it offers to alleviate poverty, and the need to ensure the poorest countries are integrated into the global economy. This is very much in line with the trade agenda for Lough Eme. We shall ensure that the G8 shows leadership on free trade by opening our markets, resisting protectionism and supporting an open, global rule-based trading system to ensure that all countries can benefit from increased trade. Protectionism and trade bureaucracy are amongst the most significant brakes on the global economy, affecting developing and developed economies alike and creating a barrier to economic and social progress. This is why I will put political impetus on progressing bilateral and plurilateral deals as well as supporting the multilateral trading system.
We will support efforts to conclude a multilateral deal on Trade Facilitation at the WTO Ministerial Conference in December, which could add $70 billion to the global economy and would help boost trade in Africa in particular. We will also work with African countries to help them realise their goal of a Continental Free Trade Area, including through our support for regional integration. This could see intra-African trade double by 2022. If G8 countries complete all of their current trade deals and those in the pipeline, it could boost the income of the whole world by more than $1 trillion. Under our G8 Presidency, I also want to see real progress on tackling food and nutrition insecurity through practical action and greater political commitment to fighting global malnutrition.
Many of the world's poorest countries are shackled by a lack of transparency, poor mles, corrupt practices and weak capacity. Too often, a veil of secrecy allows corrupt corporations and officials in countries to flout the law and prevent development. Too often, mineral wealth in developing countries becomes a curse rather than a blessing, as a lack of transparency fosters crime and corruption. Too often, instead of a shared hope for the next generation, such wealth brings conflict, greed, and environmental damage. Through the G8, I plan to push for mandatory higher global standards for the extractives sector, to encourage responsible and sustainable investment in land, and setting the standards for ensuring that government data are released in an open and useable format.
Finally, the High Level Panel Report on the post-2015 development agenda, which we transferred to the UN Secretary General last week, highlighted the importance of trade, tax and transparency to better the lives of the world's poorest. The Report presents an ambitious roadmap to eradicate extreme poverty from the face of the earth by 2030. It says that everyone - regardless of gender, ethnicity, income, disability, age - must have their basic needs met, and their economic and human rights respected. It too makes a strong call for economic growth that promotes social inclusion and preserves the planet's natural resources for future generations. It says that freedom from violence, good governance and justice are not only fundamental to achieving poverty eradication, but goods in themselves that all citizens of the world have equal right to enjoy. I hope that you will be able to read the Report and offer support for its core messages.
You have called for disinterested solidarity and for a return to person-centred ethics in the world of finance and economics. As President of the G8, I aim to help secure the growth and stability on which the prosperity and welfare of the whole world depends. To do this, we must tackle the conditions that cause poverty, stiffen the sinews of responsible capitalism, and strengthen governance and transparency.
I believe that this path is one which requires more than the G8 to find success, that responsible governments, business and faiths can and should travel together, doing what we can to turn these values into practical action for the benefit of all.
Those evil bastards couldn’t care less what the Pope has to say on anything.
This is a destructive utopianist vision.
So if everyone is to automatically provided for all their basic needs why work?
To pay for our hobbies?
The reality is that for a huge proportion of world, the fear of deprivation is the only thing motivating them to get off the sofa.
There are people who work purely out of pride, altruism, or self actuation. But they are a shrinking minority.
Free enterprise amongst a moral and religious people, underpinned by the rule of law, happens to fit the bill marvelously.
And the Church knows this.
Unfortunately, money will rule, because interest must be paid on the debt.
If he knows that free enterprise is the solution then why doesn’t he say so instead of mouthing platitudes.
Unfortunately I don’t think he believes that.
Women and children hardest hit!
I said "the Church knows it."
I don't know what the Pope believe, but I do know that much what I have heard so far has been a) radically appropriate and b) widely misunderstood by many -- this partly due, I suppose, to the fact that the Pope unabashedly speaks "Church-speak" and that's red meat to the spin-hungry-Church-slandering media.
I guess if you really want to know what the Church believe, you could make a thorough inquiry for yourself. I wouldn't believe what the media said, though - about this or any other Pope.
Solidarity and the Universal Destiny of the Goods of the Earth
"Solidarity includes the Scriptural call to welcome the stranger among usincluding immigrants seeking work, a safe home, education for their children, and a decent life for their families."
Rights and responsibilities; Social Justice
"Every person has a fundamental right to life and to the necessities of life. In addition, every human has the right to what is required to live a full and decent life, things such as employment, health care, education."
Catholic social ministry begins and ends with Jesus Christ, he said. If it doesnt, it isnt Catholic.
It’s entirely true that each human being has a right to all of those things.
Note however, in any official teaching, there isn’t anything that says, “since humans have a right to education and health care, that means those who have enough money, should be forced by the force of government to pay for those who can’t”.
You will not find that teaching anywhere, because it doesn’t exist.
Now I would ask anyone who calls themselves Christian, don’t you believe every human being, because of the mere dignity of being a human being, has the right to ACCESS to health care and ACCESS to education? That is, no one should be denied these services simply because of their race or creed, should they?
For Catholics the church IS the pope.
As for the media slandering the pope I was just going from what the pope said.
I’m sorry to say this but this pope is a socialist. He doesn’t seem to have learned anything from living in socialist Argentina, unlike John Paul II.
By what authority do you make this sweeping declaration? You can't possibly be a practicing Catholic. If you were, you would understand by experience that there are few places with more diverse viewpoint on everything except faith and morals.
I have no stomach for people pontificating (ha) about things that they are barely acquainted with.
You must be a Randian. Right? You think the only possible implementation of "capitalism" is laissez faire, and that man spontaneously exercises virtue in his dealing with man, is that right?
It's not? Then you must believe that mans activities must be governed, for the sake of the good against those who refuse to govern themselves. How can that happen without goverment?
Oh, you think charity is "socialism", do you? That makes you a fellow traveler with Karl Marx. Perhaps you don't believe men should give of their substance to those who lack substance. Then you must be quite at home with the Obama administration, which seeks to replace private charity with Welfare.
Oh, so you admit charity is an option for a free man? But you steadfastly deny the right of a moral leader to call men to charity? That, too, makes you obamian.
Honestly, you have nothing to say to the Church.
To be honest, there have been times when my first reaction to something this Pope has said has been identical to yours. However, on reflection -- as a Catholic -- I have yet to be able to truly disagree. "Poverty" means one thing to a religious Catholic and another thing to anyone else. What it means to the Pope is exactly what the Church needs -- it is the opposite of pride.
“By what authority do you make this sweeping declaration?”
By the church dogma regarding the infallibility of the pope.
Infallibility belongs in a special way to the pope as head of the bishops (Matt. 16:1719; John 21:1517). As Vatican II remarked, it is a charism the pope “enjoys in virtue of his office, when, as the supreme shepherd and teacher of all the faithful, who confirms his brethren in their faith (Luke 22:32), he proclaims by a definitive act some doctrine of faith or morals. Therefore his definitions, of themselves, and not from the consent of the Church, are justly held irreformable, for they are pronounced with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, an assistance promised to him in blessed Peter.”
“If you were, you would understand by experience that there are few places with more diverse viewpoint on everything except faith and morals.”
Apparently, even faith and morals given that Pelosi is a member in good standing.
This is a direct quote from the Pope’s letter:
“Every economic and political theory or action must set about providing each inhabitant of the planet with the minimum wherewithal to live in dignity and freedom, with the possibility of supporting a family, educating children, praising God and developing one’s own human potential.”
I think Marx would concur with him (with the possible exception of praising God).
“Oh, so you admit charity is an option for a free man? But you steadfastly deny the right of a moral leader to call men to charity? That, too, makes you obamian.”
He’s not calling men to charity - he’s calling on government to enforce charity - THAT is obamian!
I’m all in favor of personal voluntary charity, with the charitable person choosing who deserves his charity. When we delegate compassion to government this bastardizes compassion.
The act of compassion, of charity, has two components - the giving on the part of the benefactor and gratitude on the part of the mendicant. It’s a heartfelt human transaction that requires both parts.
When we delegate charity to the government, that very important human interaction between giver and receiver is completely destroyed. Instead it becomes
1. Theft by the government from individuals via taxes
2. Bureaucratically distributing money to many that definitely do not deserve it and would most likely not received it you or I were to make the decision
3. Total lack of gratitude on the part of the recipient. In fact it becomes a right and if you don’t give it to them they will sue you.
4. This lack of appreciation on the part of the recipient and guaranteed charity from the government, disincentivizes the “poor” from taking initiative to become self supporting.
(Franklin was right.... “there has to be discomfort in poverty”)
5. Not only does the current recipient become a burden to society, but serving as a role model to his kids, future generations will become dependencies as well.
I wonder if this Pope understands that.
I believe any society would do much better if instead of having an “altruistic” ethic had an ethic that encouraged:
1. people to first take care of themselves
2. once they were self sufficient, to then help family members that needed help
3. and if they could still help, to then help neighbors and other
With such an ethic, there would be far fewer needy people to start with since being self sufficient would be the primary virtue.
This is the way we used to be, but we abandoned it long ago.