Family Values the Solution to Economic Crisis, Says Pope

Notes Love, Gratitude and Gift Have Universal Dimension

VATICAN CITY, OCT. 18, 2011 ( Benedict XVI says a key to solving the economic problem is strengthening the family, since it is in the family that a person leans how to interact in the world of work.

The Pope said this Saturday when he received in audience members of the Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice Foundation, which promotes the social doctrine of the Church.

Their meeting this year marked the 20th anniversary of Pope John Paul II’s encyclical Centesimus Annus, published 100 years after Leo XIII’s Rerum Novarum, as well as the 30th anniversary of the apostolic exhortation Familiaris Consortio.

Benedict XVI cited his predecessor in noting how a family teaches the values that society needs.

John Paul II wrote. “By respecting and fostering personal dignity in each and every one as the only basis for value, this free giving takes the form of heartfelt acceptance, encounter and dialogue, disinterested availability, generous service and deep solidarity.

“From this perspective,” Benedict XVI said, “the family passes from being a mere object to being an active subject capable of recalling the ‘human face’ that the world of economy must have.”

He said that the family’s model of love, gratitude and gift can be applied to a universal dimension.

“Commutative justice — ‘give to have’ — and distributive justice — ‘give to owe’ – are not sufficient in social living,” the Pontiff explained. “To have true justice it is necessary to arrive at gratuitousness and solidarity. ‘Solidarity is first and foremost a sense of responsibility on the part of everyone with regard to everyone, and it cannot therefore be merely delegated to the State. While in the past it was possible to argue that justice had to come first and gratuitousness could follow afterwards, as a complement, today it is clear that without gratuitousness, there can be no justice in the first place.”

There is no “market of gratuitousness” the Pontiff said, citing Caritas in Veritate, and “attitudes of gratuitousness cannot be established by law.” But both market and politics need individuals open to “reciprocal gift.”

So although the Church cannot define how to address the economic crisis, the Holy Father noted, it is the Church’s members who “have the duty to denounce evils, to attest to and to keep alive the values on which the dignity of the person is founded, and to promote those ways of solidarity that foster the common good, so that humanity will become the family of God.”

The Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice Foundation was founded by Pope John Paul II in 1993. As a lay foundation, it aims to promote the social doctrine of the Church in professional and business sectors.

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4 Responses to Family Values the Solution to Economic Crisis, Says Pope

  1. toadspittle says:


    Then the sooner His Holiness presents himself before the European Parliament – and explains what must be done – the better.

    Because we have about a week left to fix the economic crisis, say some commentators.


  2. Wall Eyed Mr Whippy says:

    There seems to be a bit of confusion here, at the very least.

    We are first told that, “a key to solving the economic crisis is to strengthen the family” and then told that, “although the Church cannot define how to address the economic crises”……etc.

    Surely, only the naive could believe that a key to solving the economic crisis is to strengthen family ties. This is insulting. It might help to temporarily alleviate hunger or homelessness (a deluge of which will soon be upon us in Europe, now becoming critical in the US), but in no conceivable way could this help solve this crisis.

    Perhaps if attention were turned on the causes of crisis – ie the criminal bankers, the decision makers and more importantly towards an amoral financial/political system, then we might progress.

    We are rightly told that “we have the duty to denounce evils”; in accord with PB16s words, I await the denunciation of the causes I have outlined above. Catholics need good guidance from the Vatican, but not this.

    I find this to be an ultimately cruel article in its alleged remedies for current crisis and suffering..


  3. Ricardo Russo says:

    Cannot spend more than you bring in.


  4. JabbaPapa says:

    Cannot spend more than you bring in.

    This maxim is actually one of the sources of the current crisis — because every economic principle, when applied absolutely, will provoke a crisis.

    The universally institutionalised version of maximum income for minimum expenditure has impoverished all of us — because minimum expenditure = minimum salaries (for maximum work provided).

    People have become so inured to the sheer selfishness and injustice that motivates this principle, when it is taken to its extreme, that they cannot understand that it’s the utterly small-minded bean counting of people like Mrs. Thatcher that’s the problem ; and imagine it to be the solution.

    In all fairness, family values as the basis of an economic revolution does not sound like a bad alternative ; compared to the current ongoing disaster, anyway.

    Basing an economics on the nuclear family (and, by extension, the surrounding social environment), rather than encouraging financial egotism in individuals as if it were somehow virtuous, is a proposal that’s at the very least worthy of attention, IMO.


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