Vatican issues major statement on economic inequality.

WFB & SiricoIn a move that will doubtless warm the heart of Fr. Robert Sirico and his comrades, the Vatican has just published a long-expected statement calling for major reforms to the global economic and financial system -- including an international political authority to address the inequalities and distortions of capitalist development. (You can read the provisional English translation here, and the original Italian here.) The statement, issued by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, was prepared as a response to the global financial crisis, which has, according to the document, laid bare selfishness, collective greed and the hoarding of goods on a great scale. As Tom Reese has noted, the Vatican statement makes proposals that are well to the left of Wall Street, the GOP -- and President Barack Obama.From John Thavis's CNS report:

The document cited the teachings of popes over the last 40 years on the need for a universal public authority that would transcend national interests. The current economic crisis, which has seen growing inequality between the rich and poor of the world, underlines the necessity to take concrete steps toward creating such an authority, it said.One major step, it said, should be reform of the international monetary system in a way that involves developing countries. The document foresaw creation of a central world bank that would regulate the flow of monetary exchanges.The document also proposed: Taxation measures on financial transactions. Revenues could contribute to the creation of a world reserve fund to support the economies of countries his by crisis, it said. Forms of recapitalization of banks with public funds that make support conditional on virtuous behavior aimed at developing the real economy. More effective management of financial shadow markets that are largely uncontrolled today.

Read the rest of the story here.BREAKING: Justice League president Bill Donohue has issued his own authoritative statement, declaring the document not that big a deal. After all, it's not an encyclical. Heck, the pope didn't even write it. Sure, in calling for the creation of a world political authority, it's expanding on a theme of Benedict's Caritas in veritate, but "the term 'world political authority' appears once in the encyclical," so everybody just calm down. What's more, "Todays statement uses terms like 'supranational Authority' and 'supranational Institution.' These neologisms are purely the creation of the authors, Cardinal Peter Turkson and Mario Toso. They are not found in the popes encyclical." Apparently Donohue has never heard the term "supranational" before. Not that this is his main point. No, what Donohue really wants is to get in a dig at Occupy Wall Street. "No matter, 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's press release makes no mention of anti-Catholicism, supposedly the reason his outfit exists.BROKEN: Right on cue, the Acton Institute's Samuel Gregg has posted his critique of the Vatican statement to the National Review's blog the Corner. After pointing out that the document has no claim on Catholic consciences, Gregg goes on lacunae patrol: Why no mention of the moral hazard of gambling with other people's money? What about public debt? Who's going to pay for all this? You can't seriously expect us to raise taxes? Oh, and how could the statement ignore the damaging loss of the gold standard? Dubious expertise, indeed.

Grant Gallicho joined Commonweal as an intern and was an associate editor for the magazine until 2015. 

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