Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Fair Trade, Economics and the Doctrine of the Church


Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga is one of eight cardinals on Pope Francis' advisory board, but on a recent visit to Rome, he didn't talk about reforms or the Pope, rather, he talked about the economy and fair trade.

He says "Right now, everyone is focusing on China. But why not talk about Italy, Europe or Latin America?”

His new book titled, 'Between Ethics and Business: Humans at the Center' delves into the topics of economics through the prism of values.

But it goes well beyond words. In fact, the cover, has an image of the Pope's ferula or pastoral cross. It was designed by Italian Maurizio Lauri, with resources from Honduras...all gathered, purchased and shipped through fair trade.

The Sculptor says "So I received the caoba wood in a slab. I had to sculpt and mold so it would fit into the metal frame. The bronze and also the silver also came from Honduras.”

Cardinal Maradiaga has a deep interest in economics, but that interest came about under less than ideal circumstances back in 1991, when he was assigned head of the economics committee for the Conference of Latin American Bishops.

He says "I contacted different economic institutions and they refused to talk to me. They said, priests don't know anything about the economy. I told myself, 'this is the last time they do this to me.' So I decided to study the topic on my own.”

And so he did. Back in 1995, he says John Paul II asked him to address the debt third world countries owe to major international institutions which led him to discussions with the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank.

When it comes down to it, he says getting out of the economic crisis is about much more than just business, first and foremost, he says it's about never forgetting the common good.

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