The Happy Priest: The Case for a Free Market Economy
wasted. On the other hand, it would not be acceptable to achieve economic growth at the expense of human beings, entire populations or social groups, condemning them to indigence. The growth of wealth, seen in the availability of goods and services, and the moral demands of an equitable distribution of these must inspire man and society as a whole to practice the essential virtue of solidarity, in order to combat, in a spirit of justice and charity, those structures of sin wherever they may be found and which generate and perpetuate poverty, underdevelopment and degradation. These structures are built and strengthened by numerous concrete acts of human selfishness" (Compendium, 332).
As a final part of our consideration, the social teaching of the Catholic Church does affirm also that there is a proper relationship between the State and the economy. Any economy, especially a market driven economy, will need some kind of regulation and intervention from the State in order to guarantee individual freedom, private property, a stable currency and stable public services.
"To fulfill this task, the State must adopt suitable legislation but at the same time it must direct economic and social policies in such a way that it does not become abusively involved in the various market activities, the carrying out of which is and must remain free of authoritarian - or worse - totalitarian - superstructures and constraints" (Compendium, 352).
When it comes to the relationship between the State and the economy, there are two fundamental principles from the social teaching of the Church that always need to be in place. These two principles are the principle of subsidiarity and the principle of solidarity.
"The action of the State and of other public authorities must be consistent with the principle of subsidiarity and create situations favorable to the free exercise of economic activity. It must also be inspired by the principle of solidarity and establish limits for the autonomy of the parties in order to defend those who are weaker. Solidarity without subsidiarity, in fact, can easily degenerate into a 'Welfare State,' while subsidiarity without solidarity runs the risk of encouraging forms of self-centered localism. In order to respect both of these fundamental principles, the State's intervention in the economic environment must be neither invasive nor absent, but commensurate with society's real needs. The State has a duty to sustain business activities by creating conditions which will ensure job opportunities, by stimulating those activities where they are lacking or by supporting them in moments of crisis. The State has the further right to intervene when particular monopolies create delays or obstacles to development. In addition to the tasks of harmonizing and guiding development, in exceptional circumstances the State can also exercise a substitute function" (Compendium, 351).
Father James Farfaglia is the pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in Corpus Christi, Texas. Visit Father James on the web and purchase his new book Get Serious! A Survival Guide for Serious Catholics. Father has a hard hitting blog called Illegitimi non carborundum. You can contact Father James at email@example.com.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: economic freedom, capitalism, market, market economy, Occupy Wall Street, stock market, Fr James Farfaglia
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