‘Reformed Catholicism’ could play a role in addressing economic crisis

News Release

Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice


Monday, 29 March 2010

‘Reformed Catholicism’ could play important role in cultural renewal needed to address economic crisis

A “reformed Catholicism”, acting alongside other strands of Christianity and other religious and humanist traditions, could play an important role in the cultural and political renewal that is essential to finding a more just and sustainable economic model, says Jesuit theologian, Fr Gerry O’Hanlon SJ.

Writing in the March 2010 issue of Working Notes, the journal of the Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice, Fr O’Hanlon says that it is tempting to think that new regulations, laws and policies alone will be sufficient to deal with the current financial and economic crisis. However, he points out, the scale and depth of the crisis, along with the growing realisation that a path of neverending growth is simply not sustainable, highlight the need for more far-reaching change.

Fr O’Hanlon says that in a democracy such change can only come about with the consent and support of the people, and so there is need to create a “cultural space” very different to that which has prevailed in recent decades. That cultural space, he suggests, “allowed the neo-liberal model to flourish, privileged the self-interest of the individual over the good of society as a whole and relativised the notion of right and wrong”.

Fr O’Hanlon argues that we need to use the current crisis to create a new cultural space “in which the focus is on integral human development and the common good, with values such as solidarity, justice and concern for our environment coming to the fore”.

He adds that: “It will be the task of politics, at both national and global levels, to ensure that banks, financial markets and all other sectors of the economy behave in a socially responsible way”. This will mean greater concern for justice and equity, a more equal distribution of income and wealth both within and between countries, the protection of workers’ rights, and a search for ways to spread more widely the ownership and control of capital.


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