Christian morality will save economy

  • March 1, 2009
{mosimage}TORONTO - Lay people and not bishops will lead the world out of the economic crisis, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver told an audience of business leaders in Toronto Feb. 24.

“Bishops don’t know very much about economics, so we shouldn’t say very much,” said the Franciscan Capuchin bishop.

Real solutions for the financial market meltdown won’t come from government policy or by rethinking capitalism, but by injecting personal Christian morality into individual economic decisions, Chaput said.

“It’s easy to talk about fixing the problems of society with big national programs and policies, because we can always blame somebody else when they don’t work,” he said. “Personal change, personal moral integrity, personal fidelity to people and principles — that’s much harder work, because we’re stuck with the clay of who we are, and there’s nobody to blame but ourselves if we fail.”

The crisis of capitalism today cries out for the brakes of morality, said the bishop.

“Marx rightly saw that the pursuit of capital without a moral compass tends to erode traditions and traditional relationships, beginning with the family.”

The church was not wrong to oppose usury from the late middle ages until well past the 16th century, according to the bishop.

“Church leaders originally condemned interest because it allowed the rich to take even greater advantage of the poor and it reduced the bonds of family, fealty and friendship to impersonal transactions,” he said. “Devout Muslims still hold this view.”

Speaking to an audience of business leaders at St. Paul’s Basilica, Chaput encouraged his audience to make capitalism morally respectable.

“Where does God belong in the marketplace?” he asked. “He belongs in the hearts and the actions of people who make the market succeed.”

The Mardi Gras breakfast audience for Chaput was assembled by Salt + Light TV, the Meritus Catholic business network and Regis College. It was hosted by Toronto Archbishop Thomas Collins.

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