"We have forgotten and are still forgetting that over and above business,
logic and the parameters of the market is the human being; and that something
is men and women in as much as they are human beings by virtue of their
profound dignity: to offer them the possibility of living a dignified life and
of actively participating in the common good. Benedict XVI reminded us that
precisely because it is human, all human activity, including economic activity,
must be ethically structured and governed (cf. Encyclical Letter Caritas
in Veritate, n. 36). We must return to the centrality of the human
being, to a more ethical vision of activities and of human relationships
without the fear of losing something."
- Pope Francis, Address to the Centesimus Annus
Pro Pontifice Foundation, 5/25/13
The New U.S. Poverty Statistics and Our Catholic
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Current Advocacy Position
The Catholic bishops of the United States believe building a just economy that works for all encompasses a wide range of issues, including food security and hunger
, work and joblessness
, homelessness and affordable housing
, and tax credits for low-income families
, as well as protecting programs that serve poor and vulnerable people throughout the federal budget
- The economy exists for the person, not the person for the economy.
- All economic life should be shaped by moral principles. Economic choices and institutions must be judged by how they protect or undermine the life and dignity of the human person, support the family and serve the common good.
- A fundamental moral measure of any economy is how the poor and vulnerable are faring.
- All people have a right to life and to secure the basic necessities of life (e.g., food, clothing, shelter, education, health care, safe environment, economic security.)
- All people have the right to economic initiative, to productive work, to just wages and benefits, to decent working conditions as well as to organize and join unions or other associations.
- All people, to the extent they are able, have a corresponding duty to work, a responsibility to provide the needs of their families and an obligation to contribute to the broader society.
- In economic life, free markets have both clear advantages and limits; government has essential responsibilities and limitations; voluntary groups have irreplaceable roles, but cannot substitute for the proper working of the market and the just policies of the state.
- Society has a moral obligation, including governmental action where necessary, to assure opportunity, meet basic human needs, and pursue justice in economic life.
- Workers, owners, managers, stockholders and consumers are moral agents in economic life. By our choices, initiative, creativity and investment, we enhance or diminish economic opportunity, community life and social justice.
- The global economy has moral dimensions and human consequences. Decisions on investment, trade, aid and development should protect human life and promote human rights, especially for those most in need wherever they might live on this globe.