Over at Chiesa, there is a piece about the new, confused “white paper”, as I prefer to call it, from the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.
Too Much Confusion. Bertone Puts the Curia Under Lock and Key
The document of “Iustitia et Pax” on the global financial crisis is blasted with criticism. The secretary of state disowns it. “L’Osservatore Romano” tears it to shreds. From now on, any new Vatican text will have to be authorized in advance by the cardinal [Imagine! The left hand knowing what the left hand is doing!]
by Sandro Magister
ROME, November 10, 2011 – Precisely when the G20 summit in Cannes was coming to its weak and uncertain conclusion, on that same Friday, November 4 at the Vatican, a smaller summit convened in the secretariat of state was doing damage control on the latest of many moments of confusion in the Roman curia. [You would think they’d be getting good at damage control.]
In the hot seat was the document on the global financial crisis released ten days earlier by the pontifical council for justice and peace. A document that had disturbed many, inside and outside of the Vatican.
The secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, complained that he had not known about it until the last moment. And precisely for this reason he had called that meeting in the secretariat of state. [But… wait. That means he saw it before it was released. Or did I get that wrong?]
The conclusion of the summit was that this binding order would be transmitted to all of the offices of the curia: from that point on, nothing in writing would be released unless it had been inspected and authorized by the secretariat of state. [Interesting in principle, I suppose. But the Secretariat of State is already the über-dicastery of all dicasteries. Perhaps the Suprema, the CDF ought to be involved.]
Of course, the fact that Bertone and his colleagues had seen that document only after its publication is astonishing in itself. [Above, Magister wrote, “until the last moment”. So, which is it?]
Already on October 19, in fact, five days ahead of time, the Vatican press office – which reports directly to the secretary of state – had made the announcement of the press conference to present the document, at which the speakers would be Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, president of the pontifical council for justice and peace, and Bishop Mario Toso, the council’s secretary. [So… for five days, someone in the Secretariat (SS for short) had a chance to see the announcement in the daily blurb from the Press Office. And at the coffee machine no one bothers to say, “Hey, Massimo! Hear about this new ‘white paper’?”]
Toso, a Salesian like Bertone and his longtime friend, was chosen for this office by the cardinal secretary of state himself. [The letters after the names of Salesians, SDB, have been taken to mean “Socio di Bertone”.]
As for the text of the document, the Vatican press office had given notice that it was already available in four languages, [And where are those translations prepared?] and would be distributed to accredited journalists three hours before it was made public. [It seems to me that a few people had it even before.]
On October 22, a further notification added the name of Professor Leonardo Becchetti to the ticket of the presenters. [And the plot thickens! We wrote about Prof. Becchetti HERE.]
[NB:] Becchetti, a professor of economics at the University of Rome Tor Vergata and an expert on microcredit and fair trade, is believed to have been the main architect of the document.
And in fact, at the press conference presenting the document on October 24, his remarks were the most specific, centered in particular on calling for the introduction of a tax on financial transactions, called a “Tobin tax” after the name of its creator, or a “Robin Hood tax.” [Another way of looking at it might be “redistribution of wealth”?]
At the G20 summit in Cannes, the idea of this tax popped up in some of the comments of Barack Obama and Nicholas Sarkozy, but nothing concrete was done about it.
Another assertion of the Vatican document, according to which the economy of Europe is in danger of inflation rather than deflation, was contradicted on November 1 by the decision of the new governor of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi, who lowered the interest rate of the euro instead of raising it, as is always done when inflation is a real threat.
As for the main objective of the document, nothing less than a one world government of politics and the economy, this came out of the G20 in Cannes shredded to pieces. Not only did no one even speak vaguely of such a utopia, but the little that was decided in the concrete went in the opposite direction. The disorder in the world is now more severe than before, and has its most serious deficit in the increased the inability of European governments to guarantee “governance” of the continent.
It is little consolation for the Vatican document that it has been compared to the views of the “Occupy Wall Street” protesters. Or that it was echoed in a pugnacious article by Anglican primate Rowan Williams in the “Financial Times” on November 2, in favor of the “Robin Hood tax.”
But more than these terrible grades, what has been even more irritating for many authoritative readers of the document of the pontifical council for justice and peace is the fact that it is in glaring contradiction with Benedict XVI’s encyclical “Caritas in Veritate.” [Weren’t some defenders of the “white paper” saying that it is in keeping with Caritas in veritate?]
In the encyclical, pope Joseph Ratzinger does not in any way call for a “public authority with universal competency” over politics and the economy, that sort of great Leviathan (no telling who gets the throne, or how) so dear to the document of October 24.
In “Caritas in Veritate” the pope speaks more properly of the “governance” (meaning regulation, “moderamen” in Latin) of globalization, through subsidiary and polyarchic institutions. Nothing at all like a monocratic world government.
When one then delves into the analyses and specific proposals, it is also stunning how strong the divergence is between what is written in the document of the pontifical council for justice and peace and what has been maintained for some time in the financial commentaries published in “L’Osservatore Romano” by Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, president of the Institute for the Works of Religion, the Vatican bank, also chosen for his post by Cardinal Bertone.
For example, not even one line in the document attributes the global economic and financial crisis to the collapse in the birth rate and to the resulting higher and higher costs of population aging.
It was easy to predict that Gotti Tedeschi would not remain silent. And in fact, on November 4 – the same day as the summit convened by Bertone in the secretariat of state – “L’Osservatore Romano” published an editorial by Tedeschi that reads like a complete repudiation of the document of the pontifical council for justice and peace.
The editorial follows here. And reading it raises the suspicion that the first draft was even more devastating . . .
You can read that over there.