(AsiaNews) - There are many factors that have caused the financial crisis, but
"its roots lies a crisis of moral values in which the importance of
having, reflected in a culture of greed, eclipsed the importance of being;"this
is why, in the opinion of Catholics and Jews," it is imperative that
institutes and academies of economic studies and policy formation include ethical
training in their curricula".
The statement is in the joint statement of the the Bilateral Commission of the Delegations of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel and the Holy See's Commission for Religious Relations with Jews, released today at the conclusion of the meeting held at the Vatican March 27 to 29, which had the theme "Religious perspectives on the current financial crisis: vision for a just economic order".
The document also affirms principles such as the need to ensure basic human needs, especially those of the "weakest", such as foreigners as well as the countries and societies most in need of aid. In reaffirmation of the universal destination of all earthly goods a culture of "restraint" should be promoted and the "partial remission of debts" of individuals and families considered.
" At the heart of Jewish and Catholic visions for a just economic
order - reads the statement - is the affirmation of the sovereignity and
providence of the Creator of the world with whom all wealth originates and
which is given to humankind as a gift for the common good.. ccordingly,
the purpose of an economic order is to serve the wellbeing of society,
affirming the human dignity of all people, each created in the Divine Image.
While this concept of dignity affirms the value of the person, it is
antithetical to egocentricity. Rather, it requires the promotion of the
wellbeing of the individual in relation to community and society, emphasizing
human obligations and responsibilities accordingly and thereby affirming human
solidarity and fraternity"
This posits the obligation to guarantee certain basic human needs, such as the protection of life, sustenance, clothing, housing, health, education and employment.
Particular attention must therefore be given to the vulnerable - the poor,
the orphan, the widow the sick and disabled; and the stranger, which in today's
society is particularly relevant to migrant and foreign workers - whose
condition serves as a measure of the moral health of society or lack thereof,
and the degree of solidarity within it.".
"Furthermore, just as the Divine gift of wealth places obligations upon the recipient in relation to those less fortunate materially; similarly countries with developed economies have the obligation to recognize their responsibilities and duties towards countries and societies in need - especially in this era of globalization.
"Concepts highlighted for the promotion of a more just economic order included: the universal destination of the goods of the earth; a culture of "enough" that implies a degree of self-limitation and modesty; responsible stewardship; an ethical system of allocation of resources and priorities; and the critical importance of honesty, transparency, gratuitousness and accountability".
"Just as the crisis has required partial remission of debts on national and international levels, there is a need to extend this to families and individuals for their economic self-rehabilitation.
"The members of the bilateral commission underscored the role that the
faith communities must play in contributing to a responsible economic order and
the importance of their engagement by government, educational institutions, and
the media, to this end.. In addition to the ethical wisdom drawn from
our spiritual heritages, religious communities are an integral part of civil
society, which must play a central role together with politics and business, in
ensuring the subsidiarity necessary for a just social and economic order"
"The crisis has revealed the profound lack of the ethical component in economic thinking. Hence, it is imperative that institutes and academies of economic studies and policy formation include ethical training in their curricula, similar to that which has developed in recent years in the field of medical ethics; and also ethical counselling to decision makers on a national and international level".
The meeting was chaired by Rabbi Shear-Yashuv Cohen, co-moderater of the Jewish delegation, and Cardinal Peter Turkson, new co-moderator of the Catholic delegation.
"The guest of honor at the opening was Professor Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, president of the Vatican's Institute for Religious Works, who delievered an analysis of the causes of the financial crisis and suggested possible ways to overcome it. Doctor Meir Tamari , former chief economist of the Bank of Israel, and Professor Stefano Zamagni, Department of Economics, University of Bologna, also made interventions on the theme".