Macroeconomics with the Pope

...it is necessary to expose the fundamental errors, the basic mistakes, now being shown up by the collapse of important American banks. In the end, it is a question of human avarice in the form of sin or as the Letter to the Colossians says, avarice as idolatry. We must condemn this idolatry which stands against the true God, as well as the falsification of the image of God with another God, "mammona". We must do so courageously and concretely, for lofty moralizing does not help if it is not substantiated by knowledge of the facts, which also helps one understand what it is possible to do in practice to gradually change the situation. And, of course, to do this will require the understanding of this truth and the good will of all.

Here we come to the crux: does original sin really exist? If it did not exist we could simply appeal to lucid reason, with arguments accessible and indisputable by all, and to the good will that exists in everyone. In this way we could make good headway and reform humanity. But it is not like this: reason including our own is obscured, we notice this every day. For selfishness, the root of avarice, lies in wanting above everything only for myself, in being concerned for the world only as far as it serves me. It exists in all of us. It clouds reason which can be very learned, the finest scientific arguments, yet still obscured by false premises. In this way we can move along with great intelligence, bounding ahead, but on the wrong road. The will too, as the Fathers say, is distorted, it is not simply inclined to do good, but can seek above all else itself or its own interests. To find the way of reason, of true reason, is therefore already something far from easy, and is developed only with difficulty in dialogue. Without the light of faith that penetrates the shadows of original sin, reason cannot progress. But faith itself then comes up against the resistance of our will. The latter does not want to take the path of self-denial and a correction of the individual will in favour of the other rather than for ourselves.

...That said, the Church always has the task of being watchful, of seeking with the best resources she has to understand the logic of the economy, to enter into its reasoning and to illuminate this line of reasoning with the faith which sets us free from the selfishness of original sin. It is the duty of the Church to enter into this discernment process, this reasoning, and to make herself heard, at the various national and international levels, in order to help and to correct. This is not an easy task because so many individual interests and national groups oppose any radical rectification. Perhaps this sounds pessimistic, but to me it seems realistic: as long as there is original sin we will never attain radical and total correction. Nevertheless, we must do all we can at least for provisional solutions, sufficient to allow humanity to live and to block the domination of selfishness, when presented under pretexts of science, and national and international economics.

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