Catholic teaching can help correct distorted economies, cardinal says

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The economy, on a local and global level, and financial policies are called to serve the human person and promote the common good, said Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state.

"We live in a time in which, unfortunately, the prevalent economic model reveals numerous shortcomings, dysfunctions and deviations which weigh heavily on the state of the planet's health," he said Tuesday.

"The ethical principles underlying the church's social teaching can serve as a scheme of reference and a key to interpretation in this effort" of finding ways to best respond to "these distortions" in current models of development, he said.

The cardinal spoke at an international conference May 25-27 on "Rethinking Key Features of Economic and Social Life." The conference was sponsored by the Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice Foundation, which seeks to implement the teaching of St. John Paul II's 1991 encyclical on social and economic justice.

Pope Benedict XVI, he said, called for "a profound and far-sighted revision of the current model of development, so as to correct its dysfunctions and deviations."

"It is important that the [Centesimus Annus] foundation is taking up this challenge with dedication and competence, in the light of the church's social teaching," the cardinal said. "Its main point of reference must be the dignity of the human person and the promotion of the common good."

Pope Francis has criticized an idolatry of money and a culture of waste that he insists hurt the human person and integral development, Parolin said.

Living out the call to be at the service of integral human development "necessitates returning to the fundamental meaning of such concepts as economy and development," he said.

"The key to this is the moral formation of individual persons needed at every level" and dialogue and cooperation among specialists, professionals, academicians and business leaders, he said.

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