Vatican calls for new global financial authority amid economic crisis
The new Vatican document cites Pope Benedict XVI's calls for putting ethical concerns over economic ones.
October 24th, 2011
01:35 PM ET

Vatican calls for new global financial authority amid economic crisis

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN) - Against the backdrop of the European debt crisis and the birth of the Occupy Wall Street movement, the Vatican on Monday called for a new “global public authority” to help reform the world’s finance and economic systems.

New ideologies are “reducing the common good to economic, financial and technical questions, (placing) the future of democratic institutions themselves at risk," said Roman Catholic Bishop Mario Toso at a Monday press conference.

The document, called "Towards reforming the international financial and monetary systems in the context of a global public authority" quotes former Pope John Paul II in bemoaning the “idolatry of the market.”

The document calls for a new global economic authority that could impose penalties on member states as “way of ensuring that they possess efficient markets,” Toso said.

Some progressives embraced the Vatican’s call, arguing that it sounded many of the same themes as the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Thomas Reese, an influential priest at Georgetown University’s Woodstock Theological Center, wrote in anticipation of the document’s release that it is “closer to views of the Occupy Wall Street movement than anyone in the U.S. Congress.”

“Not only will it be to the left of Barack Obama,” Reese wrote before the document’s release, “it will be to the left of Nancy Pelosi.”

Faith in Public Life, a progressive Washington-based group, applauded the document, calling it “a timely challenge to conservative political leaders eager to carve up the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law passed last year.”

The document is “far to the left of almost any politician in the United States (short of Rep. Bernie Sanders) and should also give pause to Democrats whose fundraising coffers spill over with contributions from a financial sector that has been allowed to run amok over the past three decades,” Faith in Public Life said in a statement.

Some conservatives pushed back on claims that the Vatican document aligns with the aims of Occupy Wall Street.

“There has been much hyperventilation from some quarters over the release of this document,” Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights President Bill Donohue said. “All of it is unwarranted.”

“Those who are comparing this text to the demands of the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ crowd should first detail what exactly it is the urban campers want,” Donohue said in a statement.

Pope Benedict XVI has been following issues related to finance and global economy “with particular concern,” Roman Catholic Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson said on Monday.

The document was timed to help influence next week’s meeting of G20 nations, a group that comprises the countries with the world’s largest economies, Vatican officials said. It was released by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

The document echoes Benedict’s earlier pronouncements on the global economy, including a 2009 encyclical, or papal letter.

“Today's international economic scene, marked by grave deviations and failures, requires a profoundly new way of understanding business enterprise," Benedict said in the letter, called "Charity in Truth."

"Financiers must rediscover the genuinely ethical foundation of their activity, so as not to abuse the sophisticated instruments which can serve to betray the interests of savers," Benedict wrote, calling for “an ethics which is people-centered.”

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • Catholic Church • Money & Faith • Pope Benedict XVI

soundoff (344 Responses)
  1. Bill

    Haha, how much gold and jewels is the Vatican sitting on? Have you ever been in Saint Peter's Cathedral? Or toured their other priceless facilities? It's sick. It's like a monument to materialism. When they want to get serious about helping the poor, sell and/or pillage some of the properties for relief for the poor.

    October 24, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
    • Beth

      So we should...destroy the Vatican? The Vatican is not only a church, it's a work of historical art and architecture. Culturally, it has as much significance as it does religiously. As for all these supposed hidden piles of wealth the Vatican has, they simply don't exist. If they did, certain dioceses worldwide would not be going bankrupt right now. Furthermore, the church is involved in numerous charitable causes throughout the world...look it up.

      October 24, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Hopefully in a few years it will be closed as a church but left as a reminder of man's superstitious phase and be rented out for astrology and tribal mythology conventions.

      October 24, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      What the catholic church gives as a museum is overshadowed by what they cost civilization in the form of all the literature they suppressed throughout the ages.

      October 24, 2011 at 8:02 pm |
  2. PJ

    Benedict....go back to sleep. We don't need his advice or support.

    October 24, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
  3. Charles

    I think the Global economy crisis is beeing purpousfully manipulated by the GLOBAL ELITE in order to bring the world to it’s breaking point. At such point, the WORLD PUBLIC OUTCRY will be so great that the the world itself ( the 99% ) are the ones that will demand the establishment of a New World Government .

    Power corrupts, and Total Power curupts Totally. The reason why no Global authority will ever succeed is simply because of man’s nature. His natural Thirst for Power and Control over his fellow humans.

    I don’t know if the Pope’s true intentions are evil, or if it’s because he has a more or less symbolic gun drawn to his head.
    The Church is the symbolic body of Christ and in this sense, Christ is suffering (AGAIN )! from the Terrible Cancer of Corruption. I decided to stay and fight at his side from within.

    Thus said, I am against this proposition or any other that would have a tendancy of supporting any idea resembling ( by near or far) the eventual establishment of any Global authority and even much less the possibility of an eventual One World Currency, or Government.



    October 24, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
    • TheTruth72

      Amen brother!

      October 24, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
  4. Bruce

    It's too bad the RC Church has lost all of its moral authority over the whole child mol.esta.tion thingy, because a sound and strong voice for economic justice would be very helpful right now...

    October 24, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
  5. Emilio Dumphuque

    The Catholic church has always sided with the fascists, so they'll only give lip service to the Occupy movement.

    October 24, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
    • Beth

      Careful- your ignorance is showing...

      October 24, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
    • alex chapman

      News Flash: The Catholic Church has discovered other sins besides abortion !

      October 24, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
  6. Bruce

    CNN–please, please, PLEASE stop getting quotes from Bill Donahue when it comes to the Roman Catholic Church.

    He's a nobody.

    October 24, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
    • alex chapman

      He sure ain't Christ-like. I think Donahue would have cut off every body's ears when they came came to get Jesus in the garden.

      October 24, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
    • CNNuthin

      Thank you! Just reading Bill Donahue's quote made me lose a little faith (in Religion and Humanity)

      October 24, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
  7. Bob

    Perhaps Pope Benedict XVI, like Karl Marx, does not see the possibility of the hand of God operating in history, except through human-imposed authoritarian structures. Three cheers for Caesaro-Papism!

    October 24, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
    • Bob spelled backwards

      Nobody sees the hand of God. Many people pretend to, or delude themselves into it, but nobody sees the hand of God.

      Because there isn't one.

      October 24, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
  8. Sam

    The response to him depends on whether the person asking the question is an atheist, agnostic, fellow christian or believes in a different religion.

    If as an atheist you ask me proof that God exists, then I will ask you to prove evolution....You are assuming that a lightning struck a puddle and hence the first cell was formed...Isnt that what Darwin said? So if you can believe that although scientists have proven evidence that the probability of that happening is close to 'zero', why cant I believe that a God exists and he created this world.

    And the next point is how will you explain origin, destiny, purpose and where your morality comes from? If you believe that everything is left to subjective relativism, then our conversation will not make sense and heck....LIFE will not make sense...So Why would you even ask for an explanation from me

    October 24, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
    • Matt

      Sam, with the development of modern genetics and bioinformatics, evolution is one of the most supported scientific concepts in existence. The difference between evolution and gravity is the incredible amount of data supporting evolution is not accessible to the majority of Americans whose knowledge of science is at or below a 4th grade level. Meanwhile, everyone has experienced the effects of gravity.

      That said, your argument is not an assault on evolution but on the "primordial soup" theory of life's origins. Darwin, who lived long before the discovery of DNA, would have not been aware of it and certainly said nothing about it.

      As for explaining origin, destiny, purpose, and morality, the only one of those that science is remotely concerned with is origin. Destiny only makes sense if the future is fixed and, if that is the case, we have no free will and God burning people for eternity because of things they could not control seems silly. Purpose is an individual question and people have found the answer to that without turning to God. Similarly, I can see when may actions cause suffering and pain and so can base my morality off of that, no God required.

      October 24, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
  9. jordan

    You have hidden away the World War 2 Archives for over 65 years now !!!
    I do not care what you have to say until you release those archives.
    You are also a bigot who hates gays & lesbians
    You also have a standard when it comes to hiding pedophiles
    Get out of our lives !!! We may be poor but we do not need your help to change the system.
    Go look in the mirror Pope and tell us what you see there !

    October 24, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
  10. Greenspam

    Jesus said that "I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God" Matthew 19:23-24. Since Republicans are pro-rich, so they are the ANTI-CHRIST. QED.

    October 24, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
    • alex chapman

      You forgot the "without God" part of the quote.

      October 24, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
  11. I'm The Best!

    Since the RCC is considered their own state inside of Rome, does that mean this new financial advising group would also be in charge of their finances as well or would they want to be exempt because they're a church?

    Just a thought.

    October 24, 2011 at 4:27 pm |
  12. KindaSorta

    Does this mean the church is willing to live off of less than 99% of all church offerings? I doubt it. This isn't just a Catholic problem it is an all faith problem.

    October 24, 2011 at 4:22 pm |
  13. Republicans for Voldemort

    The Pope understands our need for global financial control and is working for us in our Lord's service.

    His long papal sleeves hide the Mark well.

    October 24, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
  14. Zee I

    “I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” Matthew 19:23-24. – Enuff said.

    October 24, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
  15. And Now It's Springtime For Hitler And Germany

    A former Nazi thinks it is a good idea for one entity to have total control over the financial world. What a surprise.

    October 24, 2011 at 4:17 pm |
    • Beth

      -sigh- he's not a former nazi...look it up, moron. The amount of ignorance on this board today is astounding...

      October 24, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
    • Yeah right

      Hitler Youth, anti-aircraft corps, 4 years worth. I don't know how anyone might misconstrue that as being part of the Nazi regime.

      October 24, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
  16. Critical Condition

    Who cares what Vatican thinks?

    October 24, 2011 at 4:16 pm |
    • David

      I do.

      October 24, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
    • Beth

      If you don't care, why did you bother reading/commenting on this story?

      October 24, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
    • Your Answer

      We only care to the degree that we wanted to see how far these fools would go with their supposed rule of law they want to have reach out like octopus tentacles to all other parts of the world. Sad really that such people can be given serious credibility in some circles!

      October 24, 2011 at 5:56 pm |
  17. Becktemba

    The Beginning of the Mark of the Beast?

    October 24, 2011 at 4:16 pm |
    • TheTruth72

      Quite possibly!

      October 24, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
  18. I'm The Best!

    The only reason the churches are for the same thing as the occupy protesters is because no matter what happens they won't have to pay anything anyways because they are all tax exempt and they want to look like they are siding with the majority (99%). Tax churches and you would see their views on this whole thing change very quickly.

    October 24, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
    • Tyler

      Excellent point., Best

      October 24, 2011 at 4:21 pm |
    • vijay


      October 24, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
  19. rm


    October 24, 2011 at 4:13 pm |
  20. Natas

    This guy just creeps me out...

    October 24, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
    • Pope-feratu

      The Rat always looks like he is going to suddenly jump out and sink his fangs into the nearest throat and suck all the blood from them.

      They should call him "Count Pope-ula."

      October 24, 2011 at 4:07 pm |
    • Republicans for Voldemort

      We call him Wormtongue.

      October 24, 2011 at 4:21 pm |
    • Republicans for Voldemort

      In your world, he transfigures into a rat. In our world, roughly the same appearance.

      October 24, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
    • Tim the Enchanter

      This guy is exactly who Hollywood would cast if they were making a horror movie about Satan becoming pope. There is not even a trace of kindness in that demonic face. At least the Dalai Lama actually looks like a spiritual leader.

      October 24, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
    • Samwise

      Yeah, he's a little out there. I don't think he's a religious person at all frankly, I think he's there to use the influential Vatican as a tool for the NWO. Very cunning of them, however undeniably evil.

      October 24, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.