Pope Urges New World Economic Order
VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI on Tuesday called for a radical rethinking of the global economy, criticizing a growing divide between rich and poor and urging the establishment of a "world political authority" to oversee the economy and work for the "common good."
He criticized the current economic system, "where the pernicious effects of sin are evident," and urged financiers in particular to "rediscover the genuinely ethical foundation of their activity."
[DS: I FIND THIS PARTICULARLY GALLING, SPECIALLY IN LIGHT OF THE VERY SUSPICIOUS CIRCUMSTANCES SURROUNDING THE $134 BILLIONS IN BONDS CAUGHT IN CHIASSO, THE JAPANESE PM , AND THE LATTER'S INDUBITABLE TIES TO THE VATICAN.
AS THEIR favorite book says, paraphrased:
THEY DON'T SEE, - AND DON'T WANT THE WORLD TO SEE- THE HUGE BOULDER IN THEIR OWN VATICAN EYE, but THEY SURE SEE - AND WANT THE WORLD TO STARE AT - THE STICKS IN OTHERS' EYES.
..... one little consolation: the Vatican is now also in the red - I guess that little $134 billion deal didn't go through as expected... IS THAT WHY THEY WANT A NEW WORLD ECONOMIC ORDER? DO THEY NEED TO REPLENISH THEIR BADLY BRUISED SUITCASES??
Recession Also Strikes Vatican Finances
Show $1.3M Loss in '08
VATICAN CITY, JULY 6, 2009 (Zenit.org).- The Vatican is not immune to the global economic crisis; Holy See accounts show a loss of $1,275,121 (€911,514) in 2008.
The state of the Vatican's economic affairs was reported in a Saturday communiqué from the Council of Cardinals for the Study of Organizational and Economic Questions of the Apostolic See. The council had their 63rd meeting last Wednesday through Friday.
In 2008, the Holy See received $355,281,462 (€253,953,869) and spent $356,556,670 (€254,865,383), for a loss of $1,275,208 (€911,514).
Spendings are due above all to the ordinary and extraordinary expenses of the dicasteries and offices of the Holy See, which employ 2,732 people, of whom 761 are ecclesiastics, 334 religious and 1,637 lay.
The Governorate of Vatican City State, which runs on a separate budget, also finished in the red, with a deficit of more than €15 million.
The governorate employs nearly 2,000 people. It also had some significant spendings in 2008, including a study of an integrated communications infrastructure with telephone and internet services, the installation of photoelectric panels on the roof of Paul VI Hall, and projects of protecting, evaluating and restoring the artistic heritage of the Holy See (restoration of the Pauline Chapel and work on the papal basilicas of St. Paul's Outside the Walls and St. Mary Major).
The panels on Paul VI Hall, however, are an economic investment: The 2,400 solar panels replace the deteriorating concrete roof panels, and the photovoltaic cells will convert sunlight into electricity, and generate enough power to light, heat or cool the 6,000-seat hall.
A third account was also considered: the annual Peter's Pence collection. This fund consists of donations from local Churches for the charitable activities of the Holy Father.
In 2008 a total of $76,088,411 (€54,387,714) was donated and, although the number of donations went up, the total sum fell slightly "due to the general economic situation," the group reported.
The Pontiff visited the cardinals during the meetings, listened to the presentations of the three accounts, and offered some pastoral suggestions. He also thanked them for their work.
For the first time since 2003, the Holy See also finished in the red in 2007, marking a deficit of more that $14 million (€9 million, with the currency rate of the dollar then). However, Vatican City State closed 2007 with a net gain of about $10.5 million (€6.7 million).]
He also called for "greater social responsibility" on the part of business. "Once profit becomes the exclusive goal, if it is produced by improper means and without the common good as its ultimate end, it risks destroying wealth and creating poverty," Benedict wrote in his new encyclical, which the Vatican released on Tuesday.
More than two years in the making, "Caritas in Veritate," or "Charity in Truth," is Benedict's third encyclical since he became pope in 2005. Filled with terms like "globalization," "market economy," "outsourcing," "labor unions" and "alternative energy," it is not surprising that the Italian media reported that the Vatican was having difficulty translating the 144-page document into Latin.
Reportedly delayed to take into consideration the financial crisis, it was released by the Vatican on the eve of the Group of 8President Obama industrialized nations summit meeting, which opens in Italy on Wednesday, and before Benedict is expected to receive at the Vatican on Friday.
"It's not an encyclical done for the crisis," Cardinal Renato Martino, the president of the Vatican's Council for Justice and Peace, said at a news conference on Tuesday. Still, he added, "if the encyclical had come out before the crisis, you would have said it was prophetic."
In the encyclical, Benedict wrote that "financiers must rediscover the genuinely ethical foundation of their activity, so as not to abuse the sophisticated instruments which can serve to betray the interests of savers."
In many ways, the document is a somewhat puzzling cross between an anti-globalization tract and a government white paper, another indication that the Vatican does not comfortably fit into traditional political categories of right and left.
"There are paragraphs that sound like Ayn Rand, next to paragraphs that sound like 'The Grapes of Wrath.' That's quite intentional," Vincent J. Miller, a theologian at the University of Dayton, a Catholic institution in Ohio, said in a telephone interview.
"He'll wax poetically about the virtuous capitalist, but then he'll give you this very clear analysis of the ways in which global capital and the shareholder system cause managers to focus on short term good at the expense of the community, of workers, of the environment."
Indeed, sometimes Benedict sounds like an old-school European socialist, lamenting the decline of the social welfare state and praising the "importance" of labor unions to protect workers. Without stable work, he notes, people lose hope and tend not to get married and have children.
But he also wrote that "The so-called outsourcing of production can weaken the company's sense of responsibility towards the stakeholders — namely the workers, the suppliers, the consumers, the natural environment and broader society — in favor of the shareholders."
And he argued that it is "erroneous to hold that the market economy has an inbuilt need for a quota of poverty and underdevelopment in order to function at its best."
Benedict also called for a reform of the United Nations so that there could be a unified "global political body" that allowed the less powerful of the earth to have a voice, and he called on rich nations to help less fortunate ones.
"In the search for solutions to the current economic crisis, development aid for poor countries must be considered a valid means of creating wealth for all," he wrote.
John Sniegocki, a professor of Christian ethics at Xavier University in Cincinnati, said one of the most controversial elements of the encyclical, at least for some Americans, would be Benedict's call for international institutions to play a role in regulating the economy.
"One of the things he's saying is that the global economy is escaping the power of individual states to regulate it," Mr. Miller said. He said the encyclical also contained elements "very critical" of how the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank "have required cuts in social spending in the third world."
Michael Novak, a philosopher and theologian at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, a conservative research organization, said he thought that the encyclical was stronger on principles than policy suggestions. He said he was particularly uncomfortable with the idea of a strong international institution to regulate the global economy.
"I like limited government. I would much prefer to have many limited governments than one overriding authority," Mr. Novak said in a telephone interview from Rome.
Arguably the most environmentally-conscious pope in history, Benedict wrote, "One of the greatest challenges facing the economy is to achieve the most efficient use — not abuse — of natural resources, based on a realization that the notion of 'efficiency' is not value-free."
In line with what he calls "respecting the intrinsic value of creation," he also decried stem-cell research, abortion and euthanasia.
Laurie Goodstein contributed reporting from New York.
OH, AND BY THE WAY, HOW MUCH IS THAT GOLDEN TIARA WORTH? AND IT SEEMS TO ME I SEE QUITE A FEW JEWELS ENCRUSTED IN THIS FANCY GOLDEN OUTFIT. MAYBE WE SHOULD SELL THEM BOTH, AND SEND THE PROCEEDS OF THE SALE TO THE POOR STARVING CHILDREN IN AFRICA?
THAT WOULD REDISTRIBUTE WEALTH JUST THE WAY THE POPE LIKES IT, I WOULD THINK.
ANY OTHER IDEAS? HOW ABOUT GETTING RID OF THE MASSIVE TREASURES SITTING IN THE VAULTS OF THE VATICAN, STOLEN FROM THE JEWS OVER THE COURSE OF CENTURIES? I AM SURE SOME RICH, "UNETHICAL" JEWS WOULD BE ONLY TOO HAPPY TO OBLIGE; THINK OF ALL THE MONEY THE POPE COULD DONATE TO HIS FAVORITE BLEEDING HEART CAUSE FROM THE PROCEEDS OF THAT SALE!
NOT TO MENTION THE INVALUABLE ARTWORK HANGING IN THE VATICAN, IN ALL THE CHURCHES WORLDWIDE, IN MALTA, ETC; SO MUCH WEALTH THERE; NOW THAT WOULD BE FAIR, AND JUST IN KEEPING WITH THE POPE'S ALTRUISTIC ASPIRATIONS, DON'T YOU THINK? WHY DOESN'T HE PUT HIS HAND WHERE HIS MOUTH IS??
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That's a joke. The Knights of Malta control all the finances for the Vatican. The fact that they are "in the red" is nothing short of disinformation to dupe the public. They have all power and money at their fingertips.