Church and Economy

The world financial system “has been built as a new idolatry,” charged Cardinal Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, at a forum on June 3 in Washington, sponsored by the Catholic University of America’s Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies. During his keynote address, Cardinal Rodríguez issued a ringing endorsement of the church’s competency to critique economic systems. Some of the church’s critics ask: “What is the hierarchy of the church doing in the economy? They know nothing about the economy,” Cardinal Rodríguez said in his remarks at the forum called Erroneous Autonomy: The Catholic Case Against Libertarianism. The church knows about the economy because “we know about the human being,” the cardinal said. “The human being was not made for the economy, but the economy was made for the human being.” He added that the market’s “invisible hand has become [a] thief.” Cardinal Rodríguez said political action may help change the ills of the current system. “Politics is often regarded as a dirty game,” he said. “Who else but committed Christians can clean it up?”

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