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Religious orders NEED to understand economics
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In a letter addressed to members of religious communities, Vatican officials requested that these groups should not be ignorant of economic realities connected to community life and a mission of serving the world in the name of the Church.
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LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "Gratuity, fraternity and justice" are the basic principles essential to "an evangelical economy of sharing and communion," said the prefect and secretary of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.
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The circular letter was published by prefect Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz and secretary Archbishop Jose Rodriguez Carballo, and covered the use of financial resources by religious orders, recommending that these communities adopt modern budgeting and bookkeeping practices to ensure that their expenditures are for ministries in line with their purpose and the good of the Church.
"All members of the institute should be aware of the importance of working with a budget and estimates in the knowledge that these reflects the values and spirit of the institute," the letter said.
Because the needs of the Church and society change, every religious order must "define which works and activities to pursue, which to eliminate or modify," and how to develop these changes.
Each order is required by Church law to have a treasurer that should be trained in budgeting and bookkeeping. The letter suggests that every member have some basic understanding because giving financial information to just one person "generated lack of interest about economics within the community, leading to a loss of contact."
This letter was followed up by a symposium held in Rome in March 2014.
Aviz spoke about the problems facing religious understanding of economics. "We live in a culture that considers capitalism to be the law that governs the use of money," he said.
"For religious, it should not be this way. It is the Gospel that must prevail."
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