Encyclical seeks economic model that meets long-term sustainability

WASHINGTON – Today’s international economic model requires a new way of understanding business enterprise, Pope Benedict XVI said in his third encyclical, “Caritas in Veritate” (“Charity in Truth”).

When business leaders make themselves exclusively answerable to their investors, they limit their enterprise’s social value and often sacrifice long-term sustainability for short-term profits, the pope said in the encyclical, released July 7.

He also wrote that outsourcing labor to other parts of the globe should be limited in nature and only done when it is advantageous to the economic welfare of all involved.

“Labor and technical knowledge are a universal good,” the pope said in the encyclical. “Yet it is not right to export these things merely for the sake of obtaining advantageous conditions, or worse, for purposes of exploitation, without making a real contribution to local society by helping to bring about a robust productive and social system, an essential factor for stable development.”

Pope Benedict called for renewed structures and operating methods to be designed – after failed techniques wreaked havoc on the international economy – with financial models geared toward improved wealth creation and development.

“Right intention, transparency, and the search for positive results are mutually compatible and must never be detached from one another,” he said. “If love is wise, it can find ways of working in accordance with provident and just expediency, as is illustrated in a significant way by much of the experience of credit unions.”

Above all, the intention to do good must not be considered incompatible with the capacity to produce goods, Pope Benedict said.

“Financiers must rediscover the genuinely ethical foundation of their activity,” he said, “so as not to abuse the sophisticated instruments which can serve to betray the interests of savers.”

Catholic Review

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.