Irish bishops reject 'bonus culture' of capitalism run amok

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin, Ireland, is pictured in Rome in this Dec. 11, 2009, file photo. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Facing an economic crisis that has produced record unemployment, staggering levels of household debt, and deep political unrest, the Catholic bishops of Ireland have issued a stinging critique of “the excesses of advanced capitalism” and its “bonus culture,” calling for an economy rooted in social solidarity as opposed to “radical individualism.”

Pressing beyond abstractions, the bishops pointedly call upon the Irish public to support higher tax rates in order to fund social services, especially for low-income workers and migrants.

The bishops warn that if the “justifiable anger” over the economic collapse is not addressed, “the specter of social fragmentation and violence cannot be ruled out.”

The Council for Justice and Peace of the Irish bishops’ conference issued its statement, “From Crisis to Hope,” this morning in Dublin, just five days ahead of national elections in Ireland on Friday.

With the collapse of socialism as political force, the Irish bishops write, “we are witnessing for the first time the emergence of a more radical individualism which has little sensitivity to the nature and significance of belonging to a society.”

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