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. What Irony!

    ...'the V@tican on Monday called for a new “global public authority” to help reform the world’s finance and economic systems'. This c0ming from the inst1tution running the greatest con-game in history. Priceless.

    October 26, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
  2. brad

    During the industrial revolution, rampant capitalism created a massive sub-class of virtual slaves worldwide. Then came the Marxist reaction with the evils perpetrated by Lenin and Stalin. Having steared a course through all this, the Vatican has a unique understanding of such matters.

    October 26, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
  3. Curtis Fleming

    Read "THE GREAT CONTROVERSY" a book written in 1888 and is alive before our very eyes. Do it for yourself, not because someone told you to do so. Peace and grace.

    October 26, 2011 at 1:29 am |
    • Brandon

      Exactly Curtis! I fear we are hurling toward the end and have but a little time to prepare! Are you by chance related to a Diane Flemming?

      October 26, 2011 at 10:24 am |
    • Daniel Huddleston

      Yes I agree if the world would read that book many eye's would be opened and we would have another great awakening. Keep up the good work Curtis.....And let the trumpets sound.

      October 31, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
  4. jasonb

    Global economy? Seems he has failed to read Revelation. The pope has once again shown he and his office are of antichrist. After all the vatican and pope did stand with Hitler, whether they admit it or not, and have never renounced the Inquisition and slaughter of all the Christians (Anabaptists) and Muslims throughout history.

    October 26, 2011 at 12:12 am |
    • Brandon

      True the papacy even admits they have changed times (the sabbath) and laws (the removal of the graven images commandment) just like Daniel said the little horn would. He would receive a mortal wound (when napoleon exiled the pope) but then he would start back up again. This might be the beginning of the end. If the pope controls the economy then perhaps no man can buy or sell unless he has the mark of the beast. These are scary times.

      October 26, 2011 at 12:53 am |
    • brad

      The Pope did not stand with Hitler (he saved 800,000 Jews by hiding them throughout Rome). After WWII, the Soviet KGB decided to destroy the moral authority of the Catholic Church in Europe. The commisioned Rolf Hochhuth, a German playright, to write "The Deputy". In this play, the idea was floated that Pius XII was Hitler's pope. Hochuth was highly regarded and the KGB propaganda campaign took hold. This lie continues to this day and is propogated by people such as yourself. BTW, the Pope is not the anti-Christ. It's Henry Kissinger. At least thats what the Baptist Student Union members calculated when I was in college.

      October 26, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
    • TR6

      @brad: “The Pope did not stand with Hitler” Then explain why the Vatican helped so many Nazi war criminals to escape to South America. Try goggling “the rat line”

      October 27, 2011 at 9:32 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      When I looked it up...I did not see the Pope involved at all with any rat line. Maybe I missed it.

      October 27, 2011 at 9:39 pm |
  5. poetry dont pay the bills

    yeah, get a job

    this sucks

    October 25, 2011 at 10:02 pm |
  6. gc

    This is outrageous. The Vatican should start addressing their own inside problems with repression, child abuse, abuse of power; then probably they should start setting the example changing their life style and assuming their supposedly vote of poverty, then maybe they will have some ethical ground to start giving their opinion to a world situation they are extremely responsible for.

    October 25, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
  7. chief

    this is the STUPIDEST things (other than the systematic abuse of kids and coverups) that ole lady pa pa has come up with...... the vatican calls for imposing penalties? HA except for the vatican.... and who are they to have any opinion on fiscal responsibility? and whats worse... there are idiots that will agree with lady pa pa

    October 25, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
    • Hairy Larry, The God With The Hirsute Bod

      "this is the STUPIDEST things" – I love this blog. Some of the unintentional ironies are absolutely delicious.

      October 25, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
    • TR6

      He dreams of restoring the church to the power and authority it had in the dark ages. Just like Mussolini dreamed of restoring to Italy the glory of the Roman Empire. They are both just as likely to happen

      October 27, 2011 at 9:38 pm |
  8. David Blake

    The Vatican should stop raping children and stop telling everyone else what to do.

    October 25, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
  9. Right

    Your masturbation, I mean masterpiece, is nothing but shallow thoughts wrapped in misspelled doggeral.

    What a fopflop!

    October 25, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
  10. Right

    Your masturbation, I mean masterpiece, is nothing but shallow thoughts wrapped in misspelled doggeral.

    What a fopflop!

    October 25, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
  11. philoking

    the bigotry and closed mindedness of most of the commenters here is so obvious. the church is not trying to take over the economic system but doing what all religions should do and that is promote justice. those who think religion has no place in secular affairs should remember Gandhi, MLK Jr., the end of slavery, the list goes on...before criticizing the church or any other religion, perhaps find out what it is all about. the church has a very rich tradition of social teachings...educate yourselves.

    October 25, 2011 at 11:40 am |
    • chief

      really? you have got to be totally sarcastic in your comment.... who is the pope to have any say.... this isnt about peace, most likely its about the pope worrying about the protectors standing out in front of the vatican...............

      October 25, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
    • Edward

      Read The Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan and Foxe's Book of Martyrs. The Papacy says it herself that she never changes. Look at what she did then.

      October 25, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
    • Matt

      Philoking, antebellum slavery advocates quoted biblical passages to justify slavery. Religion has been used frequently to justify racism, enslavement, invasion, and genocide. For a benevolent God, he allows quite a few atrocities to be committed in his name.

      October 25, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
    • TR6

      If you recall Gandhi said he did not like Christians because they were so unlike christ

      October 27, 2011 at 9:42 pm |
  12. Attacking greed

    Transformation must begin at the individual level .

    Pope and all church leaders how about speaking out against those seven deadly sins-'GREED'

    The TRUTH is Mathew 6:33.

    October 25, 2011 at 10:27 am |
  13. hippypoet

    i wanna see a Zombie movie with a zombie that looks like the pope...i mean he already looks like a zombie but to see him eating brains instead of (brain)washing them – eww, but awesome! maybe the next season of the walking dead!

    October 25, 2011 at 9:48 am |
  14. HappyHappyJoyJoy

    Silly Catholics. 🙂
    There is not going to be a new Global Financial Authority. Especially when you want it to be the Catholic Church.

    October 25, 2011 at 9:17 am |
  15. Reality

    From p. 1:

    What do contemporary NT scholars conclude about the historic
    reliability of papal infallibility:

    (developed from the studies of the following NT scholars,
    H.S. Reimarus
    R. Bultmann
    E. Kasemann
    Earl Doherty
    Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy
    Alvar Ellegård
    G. A. Wells
    Gregory Riley
    Robert Eisenman
    John Dominic Crossan
    Robert Funk
    Burton Mack
    Stephen J. Patterson
    Marcus Borg
    Stevan Davies
    Geza Vermes
    Richard Horsley
    Hyam Maccoby
    Gerd Theissen
    Bart Ehrman
    Paula Fredriksen
    Gerd Lüdemann
    John P. Meier
    E. P. Sanders
    Robert H. Stein
    Karen Armstrong
    Albert Schweitzer (The Quest for the Historical Jesus)
    Mahlon Smith
    Karen Pagels)

    (John 14: 26 not historic ( 62-. Spirit under Trial: (1) 1Q: Luke 12:11-12 = Matt
    10:19-20; (2) Mark 13:11 = Matt 10: 19-20 = Luke 21:14-15; (3) John 14:26.)

    Matt 16: 18-19 not historic (73- Who Is Jesus?: (1) Gos. Thom. 13; (2a) Mark
    8:27-30 = Matt 16:13-20 = Luke 9:18-21; (2b) Gos. Naz. 14; (2c) John 6:67-69.)

    (from Professor Gerd Ludemann in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 198, (Matt 16: 18-19 "is inauthentic"

    1 Timothy- not written by St. Paul (See for example JD Crossan’s “In Search of Paul”, Harper, San
    Francisco, 2004, p.105)

    2 Peter 1:20

    Since Schillebeeckx basically ruled out prophecies by concluding God does not know
    the future, one can rule out the infallible nature of this verse.

    Also from Raymond Brown’s, An Introduction to the New Testament, 2 Peter was
    the last canonical work written i.e. ~ 130 AD, author unknown. Tis a bit dated for use in claiming infallibility plus the verse is not from Jesus or Peter but some possible remembrance of a scribe.

    Covering all the issues:

    o “Now Rome which developed the Church of Dogma (rather than metanoia) dared to add things which have scant basis in scripture like the Trinity, Individual priesthood, Auricular Confession, Transubstantiation, Infallibility, Immaculate Conception and the Assumption. None of these are present in scripture nor an they be deduced. Matthew 16:18 was discovered to apply to the papacy by Damasus I who had over a hundred of his rival's supporter's killed to gain the bishopric of Rome. It is after this time that the phrase from Matthew is more and more centered on Rome. The bishops of Rome committed many crimes. The biggest one was to ascribe their malfeasance to the Holy Spirit. Still is.”

    October 25, 2011 at 8:38 am |
    • Guest

      Cut & Paste, Cut & Paste, Cut & Paste.....,,, ,,ad nauseum again!

      October 25, 2011 at 11:25 am |
    • Reality

      o Reiteration is great for the learning process. As is reading and rational thinking followed by conclusions based on all of it.

      And for those who are reading challenged:


      October 25, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
  16. Brandon

    I don't believe in the new world order mumbo jumbo but I do think the papacy wants to control just as much (If not more) now than they did in the dark ages.

    October 25, 2011 at 1:09 am |
    • Jimtanker

      Especially now that they know that the world is round and that there is more of it.

      October 25, 2011 at 6:58 am |
    • Brandon

      Lol true Jim, very true 🙂

      October 25, 2011 at 10:17 am |
  17. Jimtanker

    And of course the perfect financial authority would be whom? The Vatican? I'm sure that's what they're hoping for.

    October 25, 2011 at 1:00 am |
  18. tallulah13

    Let the pope deal with the matters of the catholic church. He has no standing in the secular world.

    October 24, 2011 at 11:56 pm |
    • AGuest9

      Looking at the current state of the church, he has very little in the religious world, as well. Maybe we are nearing the point that all of this silliness will fall away.

      October 25, 2011 at 11:16 am |
    • OnLooker

      With the performance of our current financial leaders, they need all the advice they can get.

      October 25, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
  19. Doh Me Noose Vo Bis Koom

    And then he, (the Pope) announced he would be selling a few of their "Raphaels", and various other art objects, to start the funding of this new "authority", and at the drop of a hat, would raise about 20 billion dollars, and they would never even notice the difference. What a scandal.

    October 24, 2011 at 11:12 pm |
  20. hippypoet

    the poem "death"

    patiently silent by st. peter's gate,
    ichingly nervious there you wait,
    terror made in minds eye – mans creation lie
    for the one whoes cloaked and carries the die,
    he has your number and with him you say goodbye.
    two coins for the man with the ore,
    trafficing souls, he is the pimp, you are the whor.

    written 10-30-08

    October 24, 2011 at 10:39 pm |
    • Andrei Zhdanov

      That's really bad.

      October 25, 2011 at 1:00 am |
    • hippypoet

      say what you want, i love feedback – oh and this is a poem that i freely tossed on the internet – i have much better ones, but this one i do like alot as it brings many different after death myths into play at one time. there is 3 complete cultures and one hinted at...that is why i love it, its much deeper then it appears. 🙂 and so another lesson is derived from it – appearences can be deciving. 🙂

      October 25, 2011 at 8:46 am |
    • Right (in the right place finally)

      Your masturbation, I mean masterpiece, is nothing but shallow thoughts wrapped in misspelled doggeral.

      What a fopflop!

      October 25, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
    • Trystan


      October 25, 2011 at 9:11 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.