Money must serve, not rule! The Pope loves everyone, rich and poor alike, but he is obliged in the name of Christ to remind all that the rich must help, respect and promote the poor. I exhort you to generous solidarity and to the return of economics and finance to an ethical approach which favors human beings. - Evangelli Gaudium, Apostolic Exhortation, Pope Francis
Twenty-five years ago, the U.S. Bishops issued a landmark 99-page pastoral letter entitled Economic Justice for All: Catholic Social Teaching and the US Economy. Today, with a record number of people suffering in a flailing economy, the letter’s call to promote human dignity in economic, policy and individual actions is as relevant as ever.
"All economic life should be shaped by moral principles. Economic choices and institutions must be judged by how they protect or undermine the life and dignity of the human person, support the family, and serve the common good."
A Catholic Framework for Economic Life
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, 1996
While briefly celebrating California’s “comeback” from years of severe financial instability and recession, Governor Jerry Brown delivered a tempered State of the State address this week that was peppered with strong calls for prudence and fiscal discipline.
On the bright side, the Governor applauded the high points of the state’s recovery: “A million new jobs since 2010, a budgetary surplus in the billions and a minimum wage rising to $10 and hour!” But he cautioned, “We are not out of the woods yet.”
"Every economic and political theory or action must set about providing each inhabitant of the planet with the minimum wherewithal to live in dignity and freedom, with the possibility of supporting a family, educating children, praising God and developing one's own human potential. This is the main thing; in the absence of such a vision, all economic activity is meaningless." (Pope Francis in a Letter to UK Prime Minister David Cameron for the G8 Meeting)
Five months is nothing in the life of an institution that "thinks in centuries" like the Catholic Church. So it's almost miraculous that Pope Francis has, in the short time since his election, amassed so much teaching on a single subject: economic inequality. This subject is also the focus of the 2013 Labor Day Statement by Bishop Stephen E. Blaire of Stockton, California, chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development.