"Humanae Vitae" Seen as Answer to Economic Crisis

Financial Woes Said to Spring From Denial of Human Dignity

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ROME, JULY 13, 2011 (Zenit.org).- To stop the economic problems of the world, it’s not the instruments that must change, but the people who use them, says the president of the Vatican’s Institute for the Works of Religion.

Gotti Tedeschi made this claim Wednesday at a conference on «Consequences of the Economic Crisis,» held at the Italian embassy to the Holy See.

«Benedict XVI tells us that we must not blame the instruments when in reality we are the ones who used them badly,» Tedeschi said, commenting on «Caritas in Veritate.» «It is not the instruments that must change, but man. Medicine, the economy, etc. are instruments; what makes them ethical or not is how man uses them.»

At «the origin of this crisis is not having respected wholly the life and dignity of man (‘Humanae Vitae’), and the type of progress that many must follow, an ideal progress (‘Populorum Progressio’),» he proposed.

In other words, the crisis was born from the gradual loss of awareness of the dignity of the human person, which in the end is reduced to one problem: «Is man a child of God or the evolution of a bacteria?» Tedeschi asked. «And if the end justifies the means then, consequently, life has no meaning. The difference lies in the fact that, in the secular vision, life does not have a supernatural» dimension.

He considered how the wager was «on the growth of the GNP in a consumerist way, namely, with the reduction of births.»

This has resulted in the rapid growth of the number of elderly, who thus «cannot be endured from the economic point of view.»

Rules or people

The vice president of the Italian Chamber of Deputies, Maurizio Lupi, stressed that the crisis is yet to be surmounted; hence, it is appropriate to ask: «What is the judgment on our responsibilities.»

The «Pope states that our weakness is not pausing to judge, when judgment is what enables us not to be removed from reality,» he said.

In «Caritas in Veritate,» the Pope destroyed that concept that for years spread in the West on the ethical neutrality of the economy, because man must be the central figure, Lupi affirmed.

He also suggested that the solution is not in bigger government.

«More rules, more state and less market» is a temptation to resist, Lupi stated, «especially if we understand that it is the person who is able to come out of the crisis. The problem is not to add more rules but to elicit the best from the person.»

To illustrate his point, he offered the example of two businessmen in north Italy who received compensation for a natural calamity that destroyed their businesses. The older one received the funds and closed down, the younger one, instead, reopened. Lupi said that in the second case, the businessman chose to reopen because he was not just thinking of himself, but also of his family and the workers of his small village.

«The underlying challenge, therefore, is to reinforce the fundamental nucleus, the family,» he said. «Economic policies that ignore this divide the ethic of the economy. It is not a Catholic thesis, though we Catholics propose it forcefully.»

The Italian official also considered the educational challenge. It is not just a question of laws and economic aid, he suggested, but of having a proper concept of the person, the family and the business, elements that give life to the very foundation of action.

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