discovered via this post: The Vatican Calls for a New Political Authority Against "Neoliberalism" (love you, Technorati)
First, let me head something off at the pass I do not want to start or engage in a doctrinal pissing match here. I think the 99% need all the allies they can get, and there is a large segment of the Catholic Church that has dedicated itself (often to the point of martyrdom, just ask Archbishop Romero) to the the Gospel command to "feed the poor, heal the sick and clothe the naked". These people, along with others of the religious left, are our allies. And we need all the allies we can get.
(emphasis) by TGW
The Vatican has issued its call for global financial reform, recommending the creation of a world political authority with broad powers to regulate markets and rein in the "inequalities and distortions of capitalist development." (CNS/Reuters)
By John Thavis
Catholic News Service
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- A Vatican document called for the gradual creation of a world political authority with broad powers to regulate financial markets and rein in the "inequalities and distortions of capitalist development."
The document said the current global financial crisis has revealed "selfishness, collective greed and the hoarding of goods on a great scale." A supranational authority, it said, is needed to place the common good at the center of international economic activity.
Pretty strong language, calling out one of the Seven Deadly Sins.
The 41-page text was titled, "Toward Reforming the International Financial and Monetary Systems in the Context of Global Public Authority." Prepared by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, it was released Oct. 24 in several languages, including a provisional translation in English...
One major step, it said, should be reform of the international monetary system in a way that involves developing countries. The document foresaw creation of a "central world bank" that would regulate the flow of monetary exchanges; it said the International Monetary Fund had lost the ability to control the amount of credit risk taken on by the system.
The document also proposed:
-- Taxation measures on financial transactions. Revenues could contribute to the creation of a "world reserve fund" to support the economies of countries hit by crisis, it said.
-- Forms of recapitalization of banks with public funds that make support conditional on "virtuous" behavior aimed at developing the real economy.
-- More effective management of financial shadow markets that are largely uncontrolled today.
Such moves would be designed to make the global economy more responsive to the needs of the person, and less "subordinated to the interests of countries that effectively enjoy a position of economic and financial advantage," it said.
In making the case for a global authority, the document said the continued model of nationalistic self-interest seemed "anachronistic and surreal" in the age of globalization.
"We should not be afraid to propose new ideas, even if they might destabilize pre-existing balances of power that prevail over the weakest," it said....
Take that, Wall Street.
While the Vatican document focused on financial issues, it envisioned a much wider potential role for the global political authority. The agenda also includes peace and security, disarmament and arms control, protection of human rights, and management of migration flows and food security, it said...
At a news conference Oct. 24, the Vatican spokesman, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, emphasized that the document was "not an expression of papal magisterium," but instead was an "authoritative note of a Vatican agency," the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. In that sense, he said, it would not be correct to report that "Pope Benedict says" what's in the document, he said.
The document did make a point of quoting from the teachings of several popes, however, including those of Pope Benedict XVI, who in his 2009 encyclical "Charity in Truth" ("Caritas in Veritate") said there was "an urgent need of a true world political authority" that could give poorer nations a bigger voice in financial decision-making.
The document also cited Blessed John Paul II's 1991 warning of the risk of an "idolatry of the market" in the wake of the failure of European communism. Today his warning "needs to be heeded without delay," it said...
"The Idolatry of the Market". Thank you, John Paul II.
Faith in Public Life suggested some follow-up
In the next Republican presidential debate someone should ask Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, both proudly Catholic, whether they support the Vatican's call for more robust financial reform. While we're at it let's keep challenging House Speaker John Boehner and Rep. Paul Ryan, both Catholics, on why their economic plans depart so dramatically from Catholic social teaching. Catholic conservatives who like to puff up their chests as valiant defenders of orthodoxy might find themselves tight-lipped for a change.
The Vatican's timely call for global economic justice should also inspire U.S. Catholic bishops, scheduled to gather for a national meeting next month, to start offering a bolder critique of economic libertarianism and anti-government ideology now ascendant in our nation's politics....
Right on. It wasn't chance that former House Judiciary Chairman Henry Hyde likened the US Bishop to a bunch of socialists.
I like having God on our side, and s/he seems to be showing up more and more (via Faith in Action):
Tomorrow, Wednesday, November 2 at 10 a.m. CST, Jewish and Christian clergy will gather at City Hall (at the corner of Randolph and LaSalle Streets) to stand up for the Occupy Chicago protestors and denounce any attempts by local authorities to crack down violently on the Occupy movement's presence in the city.
As the Occupy Wall Street movement spreads to hundreds of cities worldwide and diverse Americans unite to protest skyrocketing economic inequality, faith leaders are reaffirming religious values of economic justice, and opportunity, and condemning the idolatry of greed.
Again, we do not agree on everything. But we agree that greed is wrecking the world and that we should protect the weakest among us. That's a transcendent agreement and one worth sticking to.
Upcoming actions below (previously published, newly relevant, still important)
In response to historic deficits and the charge of the congressional Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, also known as the “supercommittee,” to recommend an additional $1.5 trillion in cuts to the national budget as part of the debt ceiling deal, people of faith across the country will form human Circles of Protection around at-risk agencies and programs to demonstrate our collective commitment to protect the poor in this rancorous process.
On Nov. 16, 2011, at 12 p.m. (Eastern, Central, Mountain, and Pacific time zones) faith leaders, parishioners, advocates, community lead-ers, and their constituents will come together to join hands and create human circles around agencies and programs at risk of deep budget cuts in the supercommittee and appropriations processes. The Circles will form in towns and cities across the country at 12 noon in every U.S. time zone. Through this rolling national action, people of faith will signal to the congressional super committee and all congressional representatives that the nation’s budget must not be balanced on the backs of “the least of these” (Matthew 25:40).
Keystone XL Pipeline
Join Jim Wallis, Rose Berger, other members of Sojourners, and many more activists at the White House this Sunday, November 6 at 2 p.m. We are gathering to tell President Obama to stop construction of the Keystone XL transnational pipeline, as it threatens America’s fresh water supply, endangers poor and rural communities, jeopardizes food security, and derails any attempt at a green energy future.
In August, more than 1,200 people were arrested protesting the controversial 1,700-mile Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline. TransCanada, the corporation that would build it, is responsible for 12 oil spills in the United States during 2011. According to NASA scientist James Hansen, "Exploitation of tar sands would make it implausible to stabilize the climate and avoid disastrous global climate impacts."
Over 4,000 people have already signed up to join the November 6 action, which means we have an opportunity to send a decisive message to the president. With scandals around Keystone XL brewing, and momentum shifting in our direction, we need to make this action as big as possible. We are not planning on arrests, which means everyone can participate. The starting time is approximately 2 p.m. at Lafayette Park. We hope to see you there!
If you cannot be there in person, please consider calling the White House to tell President Obama to shut down the Keystone Pipeline project. 202-456-1111
"Come and See" Legislative Visits
Inspired by the story of Philip and Nathanael, Sojourners is calling faith-based agencies to invite their congressional representatives from both the House and the Senate to “come and see” for themselves the people placed at risk by the severe budget cuts being considered by the congressional Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, also known as the supercommittee. Come and See visits are opportunities for legislators to get to know the people in their districts, hear their stories, and see the great work being done in agencies serving at-risk populations.
Our current immigration system does not reflect our nation’s best values. We need reform at the national level, but since Congress continues to drag its feet, some states have decided to tackle the problem on their own.
Unfortunately, the results have been ill-conceived, financially unsustainable and discriminatory proposals and legislation that do nothing to make our states safer and institutionalize discrimination against entire communities. People of faith need to tell their state legislators to stop supporting bad legislation, and work on holistic solutions to our immigration system, including supporting national reform.
It has been 10 years since the U.S. military began operations in Afghanistan in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. We lament the suffering, violence, and death on both sides of the conflict. Our scriptures and history teach us that war is not the answer to achieving the peace and security we are striving to build in this world.
It is time for the war in Afghanistan to end, starting with the troop withdrawal President Obama promised this summer.
We cannot wait any longer, nor delay the timetable any further. The costs are simply too great.
The war in Afghanistan now costs more than $100 billion per year.
The human cost is even greater, with thousands of U.S. casualties, plus tens of thousands suffering from post-traumatic stress and other psychological disorders, and an alarming number committing suicide.
Tens of thousands of Afghans, including women and children, have also died.
Tell President Obama to ensure a safe and responsible military exit from Afghanistan.
Congress is considering cuts to Social Security, including raising the retirement age, reducing payouts, and limiting cost-of-living increases. Their intention, we’re told, is to help reduce our national deficit.
But, Social Security is not responsible for the deficit – the program actually has been running surpluses for decades, to the tune of $2.6 trillion total.
Social Security is based on a promise: If you pay into the system with your payroll taxes, then you earn the right to guaranteed benefits. It is a system that reflects our values as a nation – values also found in scripture.
There is no trust more sacred to biblical faith than the injunction to care not only for our families but also for those in need. Social Security is not just for the elderly – it also helps low-income children, widows and widowers, those with disabilities, and children without parents. Without the 75-year-old program, nearly half of elderly Americans would be in poverty; with it, only 10 percent are.
As the income disparity deepens in our nation, we must all grapple with the kind of economic policies and programs we think are fair and just. Indeed, we agree that the deficit is a moral issue – but how it is handled is also a moral issue. We must push Congress and the president to understand what is at stake for all Americans when they decide what to fund and what to cut. This is especially true for Social Security.
Social Security is a covenant for the common good that works, and works well.
Tell President Obama and members of Congress: Protect Social Security, don't cut it.