Cardinal: Don't Let Economic Crisis Pass in Vain

Praises «Providential» Message of «Caritas in Veritate»

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ROME, SEPT. 23, 2009 ( The president of the Italian bishops’ conference is affirming that Benedict XVI’s latest encyclical, «Caritas in Veritate,» is an important milestone in the history of the Church’s social doctrine.

Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, archbishop of Genoa, affirmed this Monday at the opening of the bishops’ permanent council meeting, underlining the «providential» nature of the encyclical faced to current globalization.

The prelate stated that this document, like «Rerum Novarum» and «Populorum Progressio,» answers a new phenomenon, what he called «the progressive explosion of planetary interdependence, commonly known as globalization.»

For Cardinal Bagnasco, the great challenge of this encyclical is that Benedict XVI «invites everyone to abandon fatalist attitudes, as if the present dynamics were produced by anonymous or impersonal forces and by structures that are independent of the human will.»

Another essential doctrinal point is the concept of development, which, as Pope Paul VI said, is the «heart of the Christian social message,» the prelate pointed out.

He continued: «Very powerful is the idea that development is the indomitable and plenary vocation of man, who cannot but desire to be more. And it is precisely on this path that he, if he so wishes, encounters Christ.»

The cardinal explained that the truth of development consists in its integrity, and «if it is not of the whole man and of all men, it is not true development.»

He added, «These words of the Pope must not be reduced to a sterile slogan, but must be assumed in all their historical and social meaning.»

The prelate emphasized, «It is important to point out how this centrality of the person is followed in the encyclical by openness to life, which is at the center of true development.»

He also pointed out the need for the state to «provide policies that promote the centrality and integrity of the family.»


Cardinal Bagnasco described «Caritas in Veritate» as «providential.»

«There is no aspect of the social dynamic that is not considered and replaced according to an innovative and at the same time dynamic vision, in a globalized society,» he said.

The prelate stated that the encyclical «is revealed as a providential text that offers a solid framework within which to seek answers of the measure of the great changes that are taking place, especially, the changes exacted by the economic and financial crisis that the whole world is going through.»

«For those who think that this crisis is like those that have preceded it,» he said, «and that one can return without danger to the exuberance of the past, this encyclical points to an opportune change of fortune, so that comfortable and improper illusions aren’t spread.»

The cardinal asserted that this «is a crisis of system, which has blocked the oiled mechanisms of an inadequate economy given the complexities of present-day challenges.»

He added that «we will not come out of it, according to the Pope, without rethinking our ways, without giving ourselves new rules and without finding new forms of commitment.»

Cardinal Bagnasco stated: «If the scandal of a dissipating super-development continues in face of ever more disconcerting poverties, if the distortions and serious effects of a badly used — if not speculative — financial activity continues to fall on the most defenseless sectors of the world population, if corruption and illegality are not set aside and overcome, if economic and cultural protectionism are not laid aside because of the quota of egoism they enclose» and if «powerful public figures do not renew their ability to address the problems and if there is no greater citizen participation,» this crisis «will have happened in vain, limiting itself to impoverishing the world.»

The prelate ended by congratulating the Pope «on behalf of the Italian bishops for the gift of this encyclical, destined to the Church but also placed as never before at the disposition of the intelligence of the world.»

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