Our shared duty
25 June 2010
By H.E. Óscar Andrés Cardinal Rodríguez Maradiaga, S.D.B., Caritas Internationalis President
Cardinal Rodríguez visits the Sanctuary of Fatima, Portugal.
In a world which is deeply divided between rich and poor, north and south, us and them, we urgently need to identify common values and a global ethic that can unite us as a human community.
The continuing global economic crisis we witnessed in 2009 is just one example of what can happen in the absence of ethics: the ‘invisible hand’of capitalism that supposedly guides the market becomes a dishonest hand, full of greed.
The crisis offers a unique chance to refashion globalisation to work for the majority.We need greater global leadership to ensure that people honour their moral responsibility to help the poor in these difficult economic times.
Solidarity is a value that is especially necessary as we seek to cope with the effects of this crisis. Globalisation should be about more than international trade and commerce. It should include a realisation that we all have a responsibility towards each other. A globalisation that results in exclusion is an evil for society.
The emphasis on justice and the common good in Pope Benedict XVI’s encyclical Caritas in Veritate, published in July, offers a new vision of economics, politics and society based on a shared duty to care for humanity and the environment. The encyclical offers a clear roadmap for true development.
Finance and business can work for all of humanity not just shareholders. The establishment of an equitable economic model based on collective responsibility is key to closing the gap between the haves and have-nots. Individuals in rich countries must be prepared to moderate their lifestyles and reckless consumption if we are to protect resources and the environment.
The message to humanitarian and development workers worldwide in Caritas in Veritate is that in our love of humankind we strive for justice and the common good. There is an affirmation in the encyclical that true charity looks at the causes of poverty and the means to overcome it.