Archive of October 24, 2011

Vatican council proposes a global financial authority

Vatican City, Oct 24, 2011 (CNA/EWTN News) - The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace is calling for the creation of a new global authority which it hopes can make economic decisions based on the international common good rather than individual national interest.
The document on the economy, which was unveiled Oct. 24 at a Vatican press conference, was drafted with an eye to contributing to the upcoming G-20 summit, which will focus on the international monetary system and strengthening financial regulations.

It aims to “propose a reflection on possible ways forward--in line with the most recent social Magesterium--that are effective and representative at a global level, and which seek the authentic human development of all individuals and peoples,” said Bishop Mario Toso S.D.B., Secretary of the Justice and Peace council, in comments to the media.

The 20-page document is entitled “Towards reforming the international financial and monetary systems in the context of a global public authority.”
The document notes how economic globalization has meant that “between 1900 and 2000 the world population increased almost fourfold and the wealth produced worldwide grew much more rapidly,” while at the same time “the distribution of wealth did not become fairer but in many cases worsened.”
It adds that “today the modern means of communication make these great economic, social and cultural inequalities obvious to everyone, rich and poor alike,” giving rise to international tension and mass migration.
The document then reflects upon the roots of the present global economic crisis, and sets ethical parameters for a sustainable recovery, before concluding with some practical policy considerations.
Historically, it blames three strains of thought for the current crisis: economic liberalism, utilitarianism and technocracy.
The council writes that economic liberalism “spurns rules and controls” being placed on the free market but runs into trouble when such doctrinaire “laws of capitalistic development” do not reflect or explain economic realities. Such a system “runs the risk of becoming an instrument subordinated to the interests of the countries that effectively enjoy a position of economic and financial advantage,” it says.
Utilitarian thinking believes that “what is useful for the individual leads to the good of the community.” However, the document observes that sometimes “individual utility–even where it is legitimate –does not always favor the common good.”
In a technocracy all the problems that need tackling are seen as “exclusively of a technical nature,” which leads to those issues escaping “the needed discernment and ethical evaluation.”
But global markets require global ethics if they are to function properly, the council emphasized.
The document suggests that the present crisis has uncovered “behaviors like selfishness, collective greed and the hoarding of goods on a great scale.” Such a spectacle should motivate people to action as “no one can be content with seeing man live like ‘a wolf to his fellow man,’ according to the concept expounded by Hobbes,” it says.
Cardinal Peter Turkson, President of the Council for Justice and Peace, reflected on the current global situation in the preface of the publication. “The economic and financial crisis which the world is going through calls everyone, individuals and peoples, to examine in depth the principles and the cultural and moral values at the basis of social coexistence,” he said.
The document recalls how Pope John XXIII hoped in his 1963 encyclical “Pacem in Terris” (Peace on Earth) that one day “a true world political authority” would be created.
“A supranational Authority of this kind should have a realistic structure and be set up gradually,” it says.
However, it also cautions that “an Authority with a global reach that cannot be imposed by force, coercion or violence,” but only through “free and shared agreement” on the needs of “the world common good.”
And, the pontifical council said, in keeping with the principle of subsidiarity, which advocates always dealing with problems at the lowest or more local level of authority possible, the authority should intervene in global matters only when “individual, social or financial actors are intrinsically deficient in capacity, or cannot manage by themselves to do what is required of them.”
The suggestions issued today by Justice and Peace recognize that “a long road still needs to be traveled before arriving at the creation of a public Authority with universal jurisdiction,” and proposes that the reform or enhancing of present institutions such as the United Nations, International Monetary Fund or European Central Bank could be a starting point.
In terms of policy priorities it suggests that the global authority should prioritize “those regarding global social justice,” including crafting “financial and monetary policies that will not damage the weakest countries; and policies aimed at achieving free and stable markets and a fair distribution of world wealth.”
The document then gives three practical ideas for consideration: a financial transaction tax, making state backing of banks conditional on “virtuous” behavior, and a greater separation between retail and investment banking.
It also calls for moral training for those working in financial industries because “the gap between ethical training and technical preparation needs to be filled.”
It concludes by saying that the “time has come to conceive of institutions with universal competence, now that vital goods shared by the entire human family are at stake, goods which the individual States cannot promote and protect by themselves.”

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Spanish bishop hopeful separatist group will abandon violence

San Sebastian, Spain, Oct 24, 2011 (CNA/Europa Press) - Bishop Juan Ignacio Munilla of San Sebastian, Spain recently reacted to a Basque separatist group's announcement that it would abandon violence. The bishop said he was hopeful the group would adhere to its promise.

Europa Press reported that in an interview with Punto Radio, Bishop Munilla discussed the announcement by ETA. He noted that on Oct. 23 he sent a letter to all parishes in the dioceses to encourage Catholics, “because our people have suffered and continue to suffer from the scourge of terrorism and every scourge that comes with it.”

ETA is a terrorist organization that has used violence in support of an independent Basque region in Spain and southern France.
The bishop also urged parishioners to pray that ETA would keep its word and that a positive conclusion to the four-decades-long conflict would be achieved.
The people are aware, he continued, that “even with the total disbanding of ETA, which we hope will happen, not everything will be over.” 

“We must then work to heal the very deep wounds and I believe here the Church has much to offer,” the bishop said. 
The Church “has to achieve the difficult balance of not getting involved in politics because obviously that is not our mission, but living together in society does have moral dimensions which are clear.”
“If the Church were to say nothing where hatred, confrontation and cruelty exist in society, she would not be preaching the gospel,” Bishop Munilla stated.

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Blessed John Paul II Seminary dedicated in DC

Washington D.C., Oct 24, 2011 (CNA/EWTN News) - Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl of Washington, D.C. dedicated the new Blessed John Paul II Seminary at a Mass on Oct. 22, the first feast day of the recently beatified Pope.

Cardinal Wuerl called the new seminary “a manifestation of the New Evangelization.”

“We see Blessed John Paul II's legacy continued in the formation of new priests in this archdiocese,” he said.

The new seminary was announced in Oct. 2010. It opened for its inaugural semester in August, with room for 30 men. Seminarians for the archdiocese will start their priestly formation through the seminary, while attending classes at The Catholic University of America.

“The men who will be formed here are preparing to be priests of this millennium, the agents of the Holy Spirit renewing the face of the earth and the voice of the New Evangelization calling all people near and far to embrace the Lord Jesus,” said Cardinal Wuerl in his homily.

The seminary chapel was dedicated to Mary, Mother of the Church. John Paul II had a special devotion to the Blessed Mother during his lifetime.

“Just as Jesus on the cross entrusted John to his mother, so does the Church today continue to encourage all of us to entrust our lives, our vocation, our ministry, our service to Mary, mother of Jesus, mother of God, mother of the Church,” said Cardinal Wuerl.

The seminary houses two relics of Blessed John Paul II. The newly-restored chapel contains a first class relic, the blood of the Pope on the cassock he was wearing when he was shot during a May 13, 1981 assassination attempt in St. Peter’s Square.

The seminary also contains an amice that Blessed John Paul II wore while celebrating Mass. An amice is a square cloth with that some priests wear over their clerical collar when they are vested for Mass.

The chapel’s altar and ambo were initially constructed and used for the papal Mass with Pope Benedict XVI on April 17, 2008 at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. The altar stone in the chapel was used by Archbishop John Carroll, the first bishop in the United States.

Cardinal Wuerl explained that the altar serves as a reminder that Pope Benedict, “is the rock on which our Church stands and the rock that we turn to for support and confirmation in our faith.”

“The ambo also used at that Papal Mass reminds us that it is the Word of God that the priest proclaims, it is the teaching of the Church that he announces,” the cardinal said. “His fidelity is to both because it is not himself that he preaches but Jesus - and Jesus crucified.”

The United States bishops will discuss the possibility of adding Bl. John Paul’s feast day to the Church calendar nationwide at their upcoming meeting in November.

Thus far, individual bishops have decided if the Pope’s feast day is celebrated in their diocese.

Several dioceses, including Rome, Krakow and Washington, D.C., celebrated Oct. 22, 2011 as the first official memorial of Blessed John Paul II. 

“Pope John Paul II was a special role model to so many people as an extraordinary priest, bishop and pope,” said Cardinal Wuerl in a statement before the Mass.

“With the new seminary in the archdiocese, the young men who have been inspired to be part of the New Evangelization may begin their formation right here at home.”

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Texas, Missouri bishops make World Series wager

St. Louis, Mo., Oct 24, 2011 (CNA) - Bishops from the home dioceses of the Texas Rangers and St. Louis Cardinals have made a bet on the outcome of the 2011 World Series.

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson of St. Louis, Mo. challenged Bishop Kevin W. Vann of Forth Worth, Texas, a former Cardinals fan, to the bet involving local food items, charitable donations, and a Stetson cowboy hat.

In a joint press release, the dioceses explained that Fort Worth's bishop will send the traditional Texan hat to Archbishop Carlson, along with a supply of “authentic” Texas barbeque, if the Cardinals win the series.

But if St. Louis loses, the city's bishop will send a supply of local delicacies to Bishop Vann, including toasted ravioli, Gus's pretzels, Schlafly Beer, and Fitz's Root Beer.

The St. Louis archdiocese said Bishop Vann would also receive “a Cardinals baseball cap to replace the caps Bishop Vann discarded when he moved to Texas,” if the Rangers take the trophy.

The winning bishop's Catholic Charities office will also receive $10 for every run scored in the series.

Bishop Vann once rooted for the St. Louis Cardinals while studying at the city's Kenrick-Glennon Seminary. Before that, the Springfield, Ill. native grew up watching the Cardinals' minor-league farm team, the Springfield Cardinals.

According to the St. Louis Archdiocese, Archbishop Carlson “looks forward to the opportunity to remind Bishop Vann of his strong St. Louis roots and change his allegiance back to the St. Louis Cardinals,” in the event of a Cardinals win.

Meanwhile, Bishop Vann is said to be looking forward to “demonstrating that one must follow God’s will and the blessings that come with conversion.”

But the Bishop of Fort Worth also sees a trend at work.

His diocese reminded Archbishop Carlson that “North Texas hosted Super Bowl XLV in the diocese in February, the NBA championships in the spring which North Texas’ Dallas Mavericks won and now the World Series,” which Bishop Vann is “confident the Texas Rangers will win.”

As of Oct. 24 the series is tied, with each side having won two games.

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