Benedcit XVI: The Economy must have Ethics
Holiness, times change. Europe and the Western world in general are experiencing a deep economic crisis, which also makes manifest serious social and moral problems and a great uncertainty about the future, all of which become particularly painful for young people. In recent days we have seen, for example, the events taking place in Britain, with the outbreak of rebellion and aggression. At the same time there are signs of generous and enthusiastic commitment, of volunteerism and solidarity, by young believers and non-believers. In Madrid we will meet many wonderful young people. What messages can the Church give for the hope and encouragement of the youth of the world, especially those who are now tempted to discouragement and rebellion? Pope Benedict XVI: And thus, it is confirmed in the current economic crisis that which had already appeared in previous great crises, that the ethical dimension is not something external to economic problems, but an inner and fundamental dimension. The economy does not only work with a self-regulated market, but needs an ethical way of reasoning in order to work for man. It appears again that what Pope John Paul II had already said in his first social encyclical: man must be the center of the economy and the economy is not to be measured solely according to achieving maximum profits. Its true measure is according to how it serves the good of everyone, including taking responsibility for others, and it works really well only if it works in a humane manner with respect for others. This includes different dimensions. The first is that individuals take responsibility for their nation and not just for themselves. The second is that nations must take responsibility for the world – beyond their own national interests, even a continent like Europe must not think only of its own good but assume responsibility for all of humanity and should always think about its economic problems in the light of this responsibility for other parts of the world: for those who are suffering, thirsty and hungry, and have no future. And then – the third dimension of this responsibility – is the responsibility for the future. We know that we must protect our planet, but we must protect – all in all – the functioning of the service of economic work for everyone by reckoning that tomorrow is also today. If the youth of today have no prospects in life, our today has made a mistake and is ‘evil’. Therefore, the Church with her social doctrine, with its doctrine of responsibility to God, opens man up to the possibility of renouncing profit and seeing things in the religious and humanistic dimension, that is to live for one another. Thus open even the paths. The large number of volunteers who work in different parts of the world, not for themselves but for others, and thereby find meaning in life, show that this is possible and that educating young people to aspire to these great purposes, such as the Church is trying to do, is essential for our future.