The recent publication of Globalisation: a Christian Perspective, written by the Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Bishop Giampaolo Crepaldi, is a welcome addition to the Church's long-standing concern about the impact of economic theories and structures on society, the dignity of the person, and issues of Third World development.
Since Blessed Frederic Ozanam in the 1830s, Pope Leo XIII in the 1890s, and a profusion of 20th century Catholic thinkers, the Church has built up a body of social teachings which inspired Christian democracy in post-war Europe, Solidarity in Poland in the 1980s, and similar movements worldwide, including in our own country. Sadly, this legacy has been largely forgotten in recent years as some clerics have taken over the role of the laity, and vice-versa.
Bishop Crepaldi's book emphasises that the person is never to be considered as a cog in a global economic machine. The world's economic system exists to ensure the benefits of trade and development are shared as widely as possible, not concentrated in the hands of a few wealthy individuals in the world's richest nations.
This reinforces a key theme of the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church (Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, 2004) which enthusiastically accepted the idea of enhanced international trade between nations, but said, "The church's social doctrine has time and again called attention to aberrations in the system of international trade which often discriminate against products coming from poorer countries and hinders the growth of industrial activity in and the transfer of technology to these countries."
It added, "The continuing deterioration in terms of the exchange of raw materials and the widening of the gap between rich and poor countries has prompted the social magisterium to point out the importance of ethical criteria that should form the basis of international economic relations: the pursuit of the common good and the universal destination of goods; equity in trade relationships, and attention to the rights and needs of the poor in policies concerning trade and international co-operation." (Para 364)
As Australia has gone further down the globalist road than most other countries, it is time for a new set of priorities that focus on protecting the poor and vulnerable from a greed-based economic doctrine.
- Peter Westmore is Publisher of AD2000.