Economic Lessons From Pope Benedict

Will the successor for Pope Benedict have similar economic views

Pope Benedict has made history by announcing he will be stepping down from his job at the end of the month after serving only eight years in the role. It’s only the second time in history a Pope has resigned and the last time was almost 600 years ago. While not everyone may see eye to eye on the Pope’s stance on many hot button societal and cultural issues, he has witnessed some of the most tumultuous economic times in history – and has been quite vocal about them.

Keeping Up With Changing Times

During the Pope’s term, the global economic situation has shifted rapidly.  He’s seen the U.S. housing market collapse, followed by the downfall of the global financial markets, and the bankruptcy of several nations, home of many of his followers. Finally he, like most of us, has witnessed how slow economic recovery has been, and the frustration that many are feeling because of high unemployment and rising debt levels.

Normally the leader of one billion Catholics leaves economic discussions to world leaders and politicians, but this Pope has been very different. As recently as December, outgoing Pope Benedict was calling on the world to bring forth a new economic model and more ethical regulations.  This Pope has not been afraid to criticize capitalism and show his grave concern about the world money troubles, calling for a fair and equitable economy.

Here are a few examples of the Pope’s economic stance:

On Capitalism

During his most recent New Year’s Eve mass, the Pope pointed out the growing disparity between the world’s rich and poor. “The world is sadly marked by hotbeds of tension and conflict caused by growing instances of inequality between rich and poor,” he stated. He went on to say “by the prevalence of a selfish and individualistic mindset which also finds expression in an unregulated financial capitalism.” The Pope’s solution is to have greater financial oversight so events like the housing collapse in the U.S. never happen again.  That event left many people homeless and bankrupt.

On Wealth Inequality

Pope Benedict has been a supporter of the Occupy Wall street movement and has called for “adequate mechanisms for the redistribution of wealth.” He sympathizes with the movement against the so-called one per cent. Occupy Wall street says the world’s richest people are hogging all the wealth and making it impossible for the remaining 99 per cent to get ahead financially. The Pope showed his support in comments he made on World Peace day in 2012. He called on the world to retreat back to being more charitable and to abandon its individualist economic principles.

On Healthcare

Pope Benedict has always been supporter of universal health care. He was reported as saying it’s the moral responsibility of nations to guarantee access to health care for all of their citizens, regardless of social and economic status or their ability to pay. With all the controversy revolving around so called Obama-care, the Pope’s message in not only timely but a good reminder to American Catholics of the importance of taking care of those less fortunate then them, regardless of cost. “Economy and finance, as instruments, can be used badly when those at the helm are motivated by purely selfish ends. But it is man’s darkened reason that produces these consequences, not the instrument per se,” he says.

On World Hunger

Pope Benedict has also been outspoken on the issues of world hunger and states better regulation of the economy could mean the elimination of it. He also wants the world economy to deal with it high unemployment and wok towards giving everyone better access to jobs.

There is no word on who the incoming Pope will be, but with the world’s economic woes are far from over it’s hoped he will share in some of Pope Benedict’s  ideas on the economy, wealth inequity and how we can fix it.

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