Vatican Document on Corruption
"Makes Societies Less Just and Less Open"
VATICAN CITY, OCT. 11, 2006 (Zenit) - Here is the document "The Fight Against Corruption," written by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, issued today by the Vatican press office.
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"The Fight Against Corruption"
1. The International Conference organized by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace on the theme "The Fight against Corruption" was held in the Vatican on June 2-3, 2006. Participants included high-level officials of international organizations, specialists and scholars, ambassadors to the Holy See, professors and experts.
The purpose of the conference, as stated by Cardinal Renato Raffaele Martino, was to arrive at a better understanding of the phenomenon of corruption, to identify the best methods for countering it and to explain the contribution that the Church can make in this undertaking. Distinguished speakers, scholars and experts on the phenomenon in question helped the participants gain insight into what corruption is and how to counter it at the global level (Antonio Maria Costa), in the private sector (François Vincke), in the public sector (David Hall), in civil society (Jong-Sung You), in rich countries and in poor countries (Eva Joly), depicting the harsh impact of this phenomenon on the poor people of the world (Cobus de Swardt) and the characteristics of a culture of corruption (Paul Wolfowitz). Bishop Giampaolo Crepaldi presented an overview of the aspects of the social doctrine of the Church regarding these issues.
2. The phenomenon of corruption has always existed, nonetheless it is only in recent years that awareness of it has grown at the international level. In fact, with regard to conventions on corruption and plans of action adopted by individual states and groups of states and by international organizations in the area of international trade, in the discipline of international commerce and especially in the field of finances, the majority of these efforts have been made in the last 15 years. This means that corruption has only recently become recognized as a significant phenomenon and that a negative judgment of it is spreading at the worldwide level, while at the same time there is a growing awareness of the need to fight it. To this end, methods for an empirical analysis and a quantitative assessment of corruption have been put into place that will allow for a better understanding of the dynamics behind the illegal practices connected with it. Thus, it will be possible to come up with more adequate methods, and not only law-based systems and repression, to fight these phenomena.
This recent change was brought about in particular by two important historical factors: The fall of ideological blocs after 1989 and the globalization of information. Both of these processes have contributed to shedding greater light on corruption and making people more effectively aware of it. The opening up of borders as a result of the process of globalization has made it possible for corruption to expand with greater facility in respect to the past, but also offers greater opportunity to fight it, by means of more resolute and coordinated international cooperation.
3. Corruption is a phenomenon that is not limited by politics or geography. It exists in rich countries and in poor countries. The economic impact of corruption is difficult to establish with precision; in fact, available data is often inconsistent. Nonetheless, we are dealing with enormous amounts of resources that are taken away from the economy, from production and from social programs. The costs are borne by the citizens: The price of corruption is paid by using monies intended for the legitimate use of society.
Corruption crosses all social sectors: It cannot be attributed only to those who work in the economic sector or only to public officials; nor is civil society exempt. Corruption is a phenomenon that involves both individual states and international organizations.
A ready climate for corruption is fostered by a lack of transparency in international finances, by the existence of financial havens and by the disparity between the level at which corruption is fought -- often limited to the level of single states -- and the level at which corruption is carried out, usually at the supranational and international levels. It is also facilitated by limited cooperation between states in the fight against corruption, by the excessive differences in the norms of various legal systems, by the lack of media coverage of corruption in parts of the world, and by the lack of democracy in various countries. Without a free press, without democratic systems of checks and balances, without transparency, corruption is made that much easier.
Corruption is a cause of great concern today, in that it is also connected to drug trafficking, to money laundering, to ...
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