Friday, 28 October 2011

Global Capitalism vs Christianity - has a 'battle' begun?

By demanding that the worst excesses of global capitalism be reined in, the Holy See echoed the message of protesters encamped outside St Paul's Cathedral in London, the indignados of Spain and the Occupy Wall Street movement in the US.

In a forthright statement, the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace called for an end to rampant speculation, the redistribution of wealth, greater ethics and the establishment of a "central world bank" to which national banks would have to cede power.

Such an authority would have "universal jurisdiction" over governments' economic strategies. Existing financial situations such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund were outdated and no longer able to deal with the scale of the global financial crisis, which had exposed "selfishness, greed and the hoarding of goods on a grand scale".

The global financial system was riddled with injustice and failure to address that would lead to "growing hostility and even violence", which would undermine democracy. Wealthy countries should not be allowed to wield "excessive power" over poorer nations, the Vatican said. Cardinal Peter Turkson, the head of the pontifical council, said banks needed to question whether they were "serving the interests of humanity" in the way they operated. 

The proposal calls for a new tax on international financial transactions, but the battle for the future of humanity (based upon robust values/ethics) has only just begun and is becoming more vocal from Christians ... and is joining forces with others (e.g. the Occupy Movement).

However the 'battle' is not going to be easy or without 'casualties', as some church leaders are clearly not happy about this ... for instance the Revd Canon Giles Fraser resigned yesterday after having sided with anti-capitalist protestors camped outside St Paul's cathedral. The cathedral was losing £20k a day in lost takings (e.g. it charges £20 just for entry) and was coming under increasing pressure from local authorities ... clearly some in their senior ranks felt this financial loss (and unwanted attention) was just too much to bear ... hypocrisy indeed!

In a sign of the deeper splits within the clergy, a report that Canon Fraser had been due to publish, which was damning of the lack of ethics amongst bankers, had been shelved by the cathedral amid concerns that it would escalate the row by appearing to add weight to the protesters' cause.