Brian R Corbin's Reflections on Religion and Life

Living Your Faith as Citizens and Leaders in Politics, Culture, Society and Business

G-20 Meeting: Where are the poor in this crisis?

The weekend of November 14-15, 2008 brought together world leaders to Washington DC to discuss the current economic and fiscal crisis.

A Vatican official commented prior to this meeting:




Urges a Broader Look at Economic Crisis

ZE08111411 – 2008-11-14

VATICAN CITY, NOV. 14, 2008 ( For a problem that is not exclusively financial, there needs to be a solution that is not exclusively financial, a Vatican representative is recalling.

Bishop Giampaolo Crepaldi, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, said this on Vatican Radio when he discussed the ongoing worldwide economic crisis.

“The crisis that the world is currently living is not just financial, and therefore the solution cannot be purely financial,” he said. Instead, the economic crisis “verifies what the Church’s social doctrine has said for a long time: When an economic-financial system goes into crisis, it is never due to economic of financial motives, but because in its origin, there has been a wound in the global moral system.”

In this sense, the prelate indicated that at the origin, there is a “crisis of trust.” 

“Everyone is speaking of it, of again establishing mutual trust so as to resolve the crisis,” he said. But trust “is not an economic or financial element, but rather an ethical attitude.

“When the market erodes this ethical attitude, all of us know that it is no longer in a state of being reconstructed by itself.”

The Vatican official contended that three elements are key for bettering the situation: “the market, on one side, the state on the other, and also civil society. And this, precisely to respond to those demands and inspirations that come from the principle of subsidiarity.”

According to the social doctrine of the Church, Bishop Crepaldi continued, “it is necessary to look with more wisdom at the market and the role that it can have.”

“We would not have gotten to where we are now if we would have treated the market as a means and not an end,” he affirmed. 

Finally, the prelate made a call to the G-20 nations who will meet Saturday, urging them to work in accord with the resolutions from the Doha conference.

“The fear is that the current financial crisis undermines the work and commitments made by the nations and the international community to finance development,” he said. Instead, the bishop expressed his hope that the G-20 nations will “confirm [aid for poor countries] and take this on with a greater sense of responsibility.” 


What do you think we should do as people of faith to ensure that the poor are made front and center of solutions to our current fiscal crisis?

Filed under: Economic Policy, Social Doctrine

2 Responses

  1. Tyler says:

    I heard somebody comment that if everyone in the summit came away happy, that can’t be a good sign for progress.

  2. brianrcorbin says:

    It is my hope that maybe, maybe, there is an opportunity in this crisis to rethink how our policies and structures impact the poor at home and around the world. Bretton Woods in 1944 established the current basic international regulatory regime; it seems that this is a good time to review our own commitments. But the voice of the poor needs to be heard now more than ever. Bretton Woods II, if we should have it, needs to include more than just the G 20 but the entire world community.

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