(Zenit.org) The current global financial crisis goes beyond bad economic practices to the realm of ethics and moral codes, says the Holy See representative at the United Nations, Archbishop Celestino Migliore.

He called for greater subsidiarity, accountability and life style changes while recalling that “The history of developed countries also demonstrates that grants for health, education, housing and other basic services benefiting the weakest socio-economic levels of society, families and small communities, ultimately prove to be the most profitable investments, since they alone ensure the harmonious functioning of society as a whole.”

“Governments and institutions which rigorously implemented rules at the lower customer level were lax in maintaining that same rigor at the higher level,” the Holy See representative lamented. “The same could also be said with regard to the economic systems of poorer countries.

“The principle of subsidiarity,” he added, “requires that governments and large international agencies ensure solidarity on the national and global levels and between generations.”


“Lending is a necessary social activity,” the archbishop began. “Nonetheless, financial institutions and agents are responsible for ensuring that lending fulfils its proper function in society, connecting savings to production.

“If lending is seen merely in terms of trading off financial resources without regard for their reasonable use, it fails to be a service to society. When attempts are made to conceal the real risk that loans will not be repaid, savers are cheated and lenders become actual accomplices in theft.”

Archbishop Migliore continued: “It must not be forgotten that at the edges of the financial system there are retired persons, small family businesses, cottage industries and countless employees for whom savings are an essential means of support.


The archbishop also encouraged the general public to make more responsible economic choices: “A lifestyle, and even more an economic model, solely based on increased and uncontrolled consumption and not on savings and the creation of productive capital, is economically unsustainable.

“It also becomes unsustainable from the standpoint of concern for the environment and, above all, of human dignity itself, since the irresponsible consumer renounces his own dignity as a rational creature and also offends the dignity of others.”

In his closing comments, Arcbishop Migliore called for credible and authentic lending, and urged governments to “invest in people.”

“Once the inevitable financial salvage operations are over, governments and the international community should invest their money in aid to the poorest populations,” he said.

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