Pope Francis on Friday urged for an ethics that is friendly to man and the environment, in a society where fundamental values are not “sacrificed on the altar of efficiency”. The Pope was speaking to participants in a workshop organized in the Vatican by the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences in collaboration with the Organization of Catholic Universities in Latin America (ODUCAL). The Oct. 19-21 workshop is discussing “Changing relations among market, state and civil society.”
Inequalities and exploitation of planet
In line with their discussions, the Pope stressed on two specific causes that fuel “exclusion and existential peripheries”. The first is the “endemic and systemic increase in inequalities and the exploitation of the planet.” Besides depending on individual behavior, inequality and exploitation also depend on economic rules that society adopts, the Pope pointed out. The way sectors such as energy, labor, banking, welfare, tax and school are designed, depends on how income and wealth are shared among those who have contributed to producing them. But “if profit prevails, democracy tends to become a plutocracy in which inequalities and the exploitation of the planet grow,” the Pope warned.
[ Political action must be placed in the service of the human person, the common good, and respect for nature. ]
The other cause of exclusion the Pope pointed out is work that is unworthy of the human person. Besides providing a just wage to the worker, he said, the entire production process should be adapted “to the needs of the person and to his way of life,” while at the same time respect “creation, our common home”. This calls for the need to “get rid of the pressures of the public and private lobbyists who defend sectoral interests.” “Political action must be placed in the service of the human person, the common good, and respect for nature,” the Pope stressed.
Civilizing the market
The market must not only be efficient in creating wealth and ensuring sustainable growth, but it must also be at the service of integral human development, the Pope said. “We cannot sacrifice on the altar of efficiency - the "golden calf" of our times - fundamental values such as democracy, justice, freedom, family, creation.” In essence, we must aim at "civilizing the market" in the perspective of a friendly ethics of man and his environment.
Reminding the workshop participants about the principles of subsidiarity and solidarity of the Church’s social doctrine, Pope said the state cannot conceive itself as the sole and exclusive holder of the common good but by not allowing the intermediate bodies of civil society to freely express their full potential. The challenge here is how to connect individual rights with the common good.