14 February 2014, The Tablet

Turkson renews call for overhaul of global economic system

The leader of the Vatican’s social justice office has revived his call for a global regulatory body of the world’s financial systems, despite the Holy See initially distancing itself from the idea.

In a lecture at the London School of Economics last week, Cardinal Peter Turkson, the President of the Pontifical Council of Justice and Peace, quoted a document that his office issued in 2011, which called for “[the] creation of a world public authority at the service of the common good.”

The document – which also called for a tax on financial transactions and the re-capitalisation of banks with public funds – received a cool reception within the Vatican when it was released. Fr Federico Lombardi, the Holy See’s spokesman, stressed that it did not represent official policy, while the then Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, downplayed the document, complaining he had not been aware of it until the last minute.

After his lecture the Ghanaian-born cardinal, who delivered a message from Pope Francis to business leaders at the World Economic Forum at Davos last month, denied that the Vatican was rich, arguing that selling off assets such as historic paintings for cash would deprive visitors. He added that “quite often”, Vatican departments ended the financial year in the red.

Read the cardinal’s lecture here

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