Ethics, Not Just Economics, Should Guide Market, Says Vatican Official

Archbishop Martino Highlights Giuseppe Toniolo’s Views

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ROME, JUNE 4, 2003 ( Ethics makes a difference, even in economics, a Vatican official says.

Archbishop Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, expressed this conviction Saturday when honoring the memory of Giuseppe Toniolo (1845-1918), professor of political economy.

The archbishop regards Toniolo as one of the most outstanding Catholic laymen of his day. Toniolo’s cause of beatification is under way.

Addressing a congress in Treviso, Italy, Archbishop Martino highlighted Toniolo’s particular contribution to the solution of the social problem.

Toniolo rejected both the individualism of the capitalist system as well as the collectivism of the socialist. Instead, he was committed to the creation of corporations of businessmen and workers, with their own organizations, recognized by the state.

Among the lessons left by Toniolo, the archbishop emphasized the proposal for a «solidaristic human group,» sharing common values, where «work is better, expenses are lower, wastage is reduced, and efficiency increased.»

Another of Toniolo’s important lessons is that the market must be regulated by ethical, not just economic, principles.

«There are collective and qualitative needs that cannot be satisfied by its mechanisms; there are important human needs that escape its logic; there are goods that, by their very nature, cannot and must not be sold or bought,» he said.

The archbishop concluded by saying that «a healthy social conflict has never been condemned by the social doctrine of the Church, which sees in it a factor of progress, when it is not violent or ideological.»

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