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General News    H2'ed 5/17/18

Vatican Document Calls for Economic Regulation

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Duluth, Minnesota (OpEdNews) May 17, 2018: Do you remember the 2008 presidential campaign? Then-Senator Barack Obama of Illinois was the Democratic Party's presidential candidate. He sounded like he would be Superman if he were elected to be the next president of the United States, because of all of the specific economic proposals he promised to undertake. In contrast to his many domestic proposals, the Republican Party's presidential candidate, Senator John McCain of Arizona, stressed foreign-policy issues.

But then news of the economic crisis broke. Obama pivoted well enough to discuss it intelligently. But McCain seemed not to have anything intelligent to say about it.

After Obama won and became president, he had to deal with the economic crisis -- which meant that most of his big-sounding domestic proposals in the campaign never resulted in any big actions, except for the health-care bill that the Democrats managed to pass.

But could another economic crisis of the same or greater magnitude happen again? Yes, it could.

In light of this unfortunate possibility, the Vatican today issued a document calling for new regulatory arrangements to be developed to avoid another economic crisis of comparable magnitude.

The Vatican document was approved by Pope Francis. It is titled "Oeconomomicae et pecuniariae quaestiones: Considerations for an Ethical Discernment Regarding Some Aspects of the Present Economic-Financial System."

It was issued jointly by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) and the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. The head of the Dicastery is the Ghanaian Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson. The head of the CDF is Spanish Archbishop Luis Ladaria Ferrer.

The text of the joint documents consists of 34 numbered subsections, which include 49 footnotes in square brackets. The 49 bibliographic notes appear after the text. All of the bibliographic notes are to official church documents, or official reports of an address by Pope Francis or the like. No secular sources are referred to. You can obtain a pdf of the joint document at the following Vatican website:

Subsection 6 of the document says, "This discernment [regarding the economic situation] is offered to all men and women of good will" -- not just practicing Catholics.

Subsection 7 says, "this document intends to offer an interpretation of the [financial-economic] situation in which we find ourselves."

Subsection 8 says that "the systems that give life to the markets . . . are in fact founded on relationships that involve the freedom of individual human beings."

Subsection 9 says, "The fundamentally relational nature of the human person is characterized by a rationality that resists a reductionist view of one's basic needs."

"In reality, it is evident that in a transmission of goods among persons there is always something more than mere material goods at play, given the fact that the material goods are often vehicles of immaterial goods whose concrete presence or absence decisively determines the quality of these very economic relationships (for example, trust, equity, and cooperation."

Subsection 10 says, "The human person develops through the stages of life thanks to pre-existing bonds that actualize one's being in the world as freedom continuously shared."

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Thomas James Farrell is professor emeritus of writing studies at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD). He started teaching at UMD in Fall 1987, and he retired from UMD at the end of May 2009. He was born in 1944. He holds three degrees from Saint Louis University (SLU): B.A. in English, 1966; M.A.(T) in English 1968; higher education, 1974. On May 16, 1969, the editors of the SLU student newspaper named him Man of the Year, an honor customarily conferred on an administrator or a faculty member, not on a graduate student -- nor on a woman up to that time. He is the proud author of the book (more...)

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