Pope calls for a world authority to lead return to ethical values
(FianancialTimes) The Pope yesterday condemned the “grave deviations and failures” of capitalism that have been exposed by the financial crisis, calling on the eve of a summit of rich nations for a “true world political authority” to oversee a return to ethical values.
By Guy Dinmore in Rome
Published: July 8 2009 03:00 | Last updated: July 8 2009 03:00
The Pope yesterday condemned the “grave deviations and failures” of capitalism that have been exposed by the financial crisis, calling on the eve of a summit of rich nations for a “true world political authority” to oversee a return to ethical values.
Benedict XVI made his call for stronger government regulation in his third and eagerly awaited encyclical, Charity in Truth, which the Vatican chose to issue ahead of today’s Group of Eight nations summit in Italy.
His attack on unbridled capitalism and unregulated market forces was accompanied by a critique of some international aid agencies, which he accused of encouraging abortion and imposing contraception.
While the pontiff’s call for a new world authority is unlikely to go down well with the G8 heads of government, his plea for financiers to adhere to stronger ethical standards will be reflected in a G8 communiqué urging stronger and more co-ordinated “global standards”.
Pope Benedict’s emphasis on the need for “forms of redistribution of wealth” is likely to stir debate at the summit, which will be attended by 39 heads of government and international institutions, over the failure of rich nations to honour their aid commitments.
Vatican observers noted that the timing of the encyclical, the most important transmission of papal teaching on key issues, demonstrated the readiness of the Pope to intervene directly in political developments. Within Italy, the pontiff has been attacked by secularists for what they see as his unwarranted interference in domestic affairs.
The Pope said that the “true world political authority” would have to “manage the global economy . . . revive economies hit by the crisis . . . [and] avoid any deterioration of the present crisis and the greater imbalances that would result”.
The authority would be “regulated by law” and “would need to be universally recognised and . . . vested with the effective power to ensure security for all, regard for justice, and respect for rights”.
“Financiers must rediscover the genuinely ethical foundation of their activity so as to not abuse the sophisticated instruments which can serve to betray the interests of savers,” the Pontiff said. Pope Benedict will meet Barack Obama, US president, on Friday at the close of the three-day summit.
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