A “global political authority” and a “central world bank”: These are the solutions that the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace recommends for the worldwide financial crisis. “Towards Reforming the International Financial and Monetary Systems in the Context of Global Public Authority,” the document outlining the council’s recommendations, is, in the words of author and Roman Catholic Thomas E. Woods, Jr., “deeply confused,” at once recognizing that central bank-driven inflation and easy credit are at the root of the world’s financial woes and prescribing even bigger government and more highly centralized banking as the cure.
There is some debate over whether the document presents the church’s official position on the matter. While press accounts have often referred to it as if it were a papal pronouncement, National Review’s George Weigel insists that such attribution is “rubbish, rubbish, rubbish.” “The document is a ‘Note’ from a rather small office in the Roman Curia,” Weigel maintains, adding that it “doesn’t speak for the Pope, it doesn’t speak for ‘the Vatican,’ and it doesn’t speak for the Catholic Church.”
Woods, responding to similar criticism from a reader of his blog, argued: “I’m supposed to distinguish between the Pontifical Council and the Pope, you say. Fair enough. But did those people appoint themselves? Is Rome consistently surprised by how liberal its appointees turn out to be? Fewer and fewer people believe this anymore.” Indeed, the council’s recommendations mirror those of Pope Benedict XVI, who in a 2009 encyclical called for “a true world political authority” to, among other things, “manage the global economy.”
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