Catholic Reaction to Recession: Bishops Give Guide

WASHINGTON, D.C., MAY 25, 2009 ( What does the Catholic Church affirm about the free market?

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The answer to this and other questions about Catholic social teaching is part of a quiz found on a new Web site from the U.S. episcopal conference. The site aims to offer tools to parishes for leading the faithful in their response to the economic crisis.

Catholic Teaching on Economic Life ( features a 10-point handout on a Christian framework for economic life. It has statements from Benedict XVI, stories of how groups have successfully responded to the crisis, and podcasts and videos,

Bishop William Murphy of Rockville Centre, New York, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee of Domestic Social Justice and Human Development, outlined a central theme of the site in a letter to the nation’s leaders: “This crisis involves far more than just economic or technical matters, but has enormous human impact and clear ethical dimensions which should be at the center of debate and decisions on how to move forward.

“Families are losing their homes. Retirement savings are at risk. People are losing jobs and benefits. Economic arrangements, structures and remedies should have as a fundamental purpose safeguarding human life and dignity.”

John Carr, the executive director of the committee, said the site aims to educate Catholics so they can understand the economic crisis in light of Church teaching.

“One of the central themes of this teaching is that the dignity of the human person always comes first,” Carr said. “This is a message of hope in tough economic times.”

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On the Net:

Bishops’ site on economic life:

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