.- The international controller for the Vaticanâs Prefecture of Economic Affairs, Thomas Hong-Soon Han, said last week that Christians must go beyond the logic of âthe greatest benefit at the lowest cost possibleâ and that the demands of justice and charity must not be sacrificed in economic activity, as the Pope has explained in his encyclical âCaritas in Veritate.â
In an interview with LâOsservatore Romano, the Korean expert explained what a Christian perspective should be in the case of a building project, for example, noting that economic convenience must not be the sole factor in determining which company to contract. âThe proposals of a given company need to be considered as well as the working conditions, the salary levels, in sum, how justice is concretely carried out in the organization.â
If a company engages in worker exploitation, the Church must reject this behavior because it would otherwise be indirectly complicit in the evil, Han said.
He went on to warn that it is easy to give in to the temptation to place a priority on achieving favorable conditions from an economic point of view, and that this is sometimes justified in the name of the demands of charity. âThe alleviating of one sectorâit is saidâcan mean greater availability for other social and humanitarian activities. But in any case what is forgotten is that âcharity demands justice,â as the Pope writes in 'Caritas in Veritate.'â
Current Economic Crisis
Referring to the current global economic crisis, Han said its origins stem from a âmoral deficit.â âCapitalism does not work without an ethical foundation. Things fall apart when their foundation is not based on moral principles. On the dollar bill it says, âIn God We Trust.â For this reason if the market is based solely on selfish interest and not on âtrusting in Godâ it fails.â
While the Church does not condemn capitalism as such, he noted, she also asserts that the market economy must have at its center the human person and his dignity. â'Caritas in Veritate' is very clear about this,â he said.
After underscoring that ultimately individual persons are responsible for economic structures, Han called for âa formation of consciences in the gospel values. This is the principle task of the Churchâs social teaching and this is pointed out in the new encyclical by Benedict XVI.â
Han stressed that the Church âis not an NGO or a charitable entity. The action of Christians is based on charity, but stems from the truth: Caritas in veritate. We cannot overlook the incarnation of a God who became man for love of men. This is perfect charity. The truth of our faith acquires more credibility if it bears witness to love.â