A Capitalist or Anti-Capitalist Encyclical?

Vatican Aides Present "Caritas in Veritate"

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VATICAN CITY, JULY 7, 2009 (Zenit.org).- "This is not an anti-capitalist encyclical," affirmed one of the Vatican aides who presented "Caritas in Veritate" today, but it does "condemn capitalism when it becomes totalitarian."



That was the estimation offered by Stefano Zamagni, an economics professor from the University of Bologna and a consultor to the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, during a press conference to present today Benedict XVI's third encyclical.

The text, Zamagni explained, "looks at capitalism in its historical situation" and reiterates that no economic system is a "guarantee of happiness."

In this regard, the professor noted that the Church does not propose or develop practical solutions to economic problems, but rather looks at the roots of social conflicts. For example, he explained, "If we were to cancel debt but not change structures, in another 15 years, there would be debt again.

"It is necessary to attack the structures of sin."

For his part, the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Cardinal Renato Martino, referred to the theme of what businesses gain from their workers: "Benefits should extend not only to the capitalist system but to those who participate in the market."

"So then is it socialist or capitalist?" the prelate asked. "The characteristic of social doctrine is in the fact of having present all the components of society," he answered.

UN Reform

Cardinal Martino also commented on the Benedict XVI's suggestion to reorganize the United Nations, which he mentioned in the context of a general reform of the international economic and financial architecture.

The Pontiff assured that this measure is necessary "to manage the global economy; to revive economies hit by the crisis; to avoid any deterioration of the present crisis and the greater imbalances that would result; to bring about integral and timely disarmament, food security and peace; to guarantee the protection of the environment and to regulate migration."

In response to a question on the topic, the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace noted that the United Nations currently has 191 members, which is more than double what it had when it began.

"This organization should have political, efficient authority to be able to respond to the demands of the world, and this is what John XXIII had already said in 'Pacem in Terris' and Benedict XVI repeated it," said Cardinal Martino.

He noted that the Pontiff "senses the urgency to find innovative ways to put into practice the principle of responsibility to protect the poorest nations, as well as to give them a voice in making common decisions."