Church and Economy (photocopy)

Church and Economy: Responsibility for the World Economy

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger

"Today we need the maximum of specialized economic understanding, but also truly ethical powers for ordering economics to the human good."

The economic inequality between the northern and southern hemispheres of the globe is becoming more and more an inner threat to the cohesion of the human family. The danger for our future from such a threat may be no less real than that proceeding from the weapons arsenals with which the East and the West oppose one another. New exertions must be made to overcome this tension, since all methods employed hitherto have proven themselves inadequate. In fact, the misery in the world has increased in shocking measure during the last thirty years. In order to find solutions that will truly lead us forward, new economic ideas will be necessary. But such measures do not seem conceivable or, above all, practicable without new moral impulses. It is at this point that a dialogue between Church and economy becomes both possible and necessary.

Let me clarify somewhat the exact point in question. At first glance, precisely in terms of classical economic theory, it is not obvious what the Church and the economy should actually have to do with one another, aside from the fact that the Church owns businesses and so is a factor in the market. The Church should not enter into dialogue here as a mere component in the economy, but rather in its own right as Church.

 

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