Cardinal Warns Against Mixing Ends and Means

Stresses Economy That Supports Development

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ROME, JULY 5, 2010 ( Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone is warning against mixing up means and ends by making the economy an absolute good. He is underlining an economic model that supports human development.

The cardinal, who is Benedict XVI’s secretary of state, affirmed this in an address at the 7th International Symposium of University Docents, which took place June 24-27 in Rome.

The symposium, centered on the theme, «Caritas in Veritate: Toward an Economy at the Service of the Human Family: Person, Society, Institutions,» was sponsored by the Vicariate of Rome in collaboration with the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

The cardinal noted how «Caritas in Veritate» calls for the economy to be understood as «human activity that accords with the integral development of peoples.»

He warned that making the economy an absolute will end up «subverting the order between ends and means.»

In other words, the prelate explained, the finite is made into a «grave reality, complete and omnipotent,» and «the earthly end is confused with the transcendent.»

He explained that «in Benedict XVI’s judgment, the economy should be thought out, organized and oriented in order to contribute to the realization of integral human development.»

The Pope «stresses how the economy, which should foster the common good of the human family, should have as a point of reference a model of development corrected of its dysfunctions and of its technocratic, materialistic and consumerist distortions,» Cardinal Bertone pointed out. 


He continued, «What, therefore, in a positive vein, is the model of development that should guide the realization of the worldwide common good and, consequently, of the economy?»

The prelate affirmed: «In addition to having present a notion of development defined by material and cognitive indexes, such as income, security of house, health, education — individuals should be in a position to make good choices.

«In a word, they must have the possibility to act correctly.»

He noted that this can only happen when people have access to knowledge of their ultimate end, to have the chance to learn of «the true, the good and God.»

«Without reference to the true, to the good and to God, considered as Supreme Truth and Supreme Good, it is not possible to establish a hierarchy between human goods,» the cardinal said.

«Hence,» he added, «it will not be possible to lead a unified life in the human sense and in human fulfillment.»

Cardinal Bertone explained that this implies that, in all its phases, the economy should be structured according to a personal-centered and communitarian dimension, «in a word, according to transcendent dimensions.» 

He affirmed, «There will be, then, an economy harmonious with the universal common good, an economy that the various social subjects must seek to foster for the unification of the human family.»

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