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The Deacon's Bench

With the world economy on the brink of calamity, if not collapse, here’s an idea.

It comes to us from Austin Ivereigh at the blog of America magazine, In All Things:

The task: to recover the connection between money and material reality, to restore the human dimension to financial transactions, to underpin borrowing with the kind of realism which is only possible when we still see the human being behind the bank account.

Enter, then, a new phase for modern Catholic social teaching, which began, in 1891, with the denunciation in Pope Leo XIII’s Rerum Novarum of the deification of the market and the consequent instrumentalisation of the human person.

Rerum Novarum appeared in the wake of the crisis of what is sometimes called “Manchester capitalism” – the kind of market-worship we have seen these past years on Wall St.

As we slip into recession, and the idols crumble, people will surely turn (as they did in the 1930s, remember, following the Wall St crash) to Catholic social teaching.

Your Holiness, now would be an excellent moment for an historic, idol-smashing, human-dignity-restoring encyclical that could turn out to be the foundation of a revived social-Catholic movement of the twenty-first century.

(But you’ve probably already thought of that.)

Indeed. And the next encyclical, we’re told, is due any second now. Stay tuned.

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