Summary: Globalization is neither inevitable nor evil,but must be guided by charity in truth

Conversion of St. Paul

January 25, 2010

Caritas in Veritate

Today’s feast of the Conversion of St. Paul also concludes the week of prayer for Christian Unity. The Scriptures remind us that nothing is impossible for God. The great persecutor of Christians becomes the Apostle to the Gentiles, proving by his arguments that Jesus is the Messiah. The word we translate as “proving” is used in Colossians and Ephesians to describe how the Church is held together. So it really means that Paul brought together all of the Scriptures and Traditions of the Jews in the person and ministry of Jesus. The implication is that there can be no other honest conclusion–Jesus is truly the Son of God and Messiah. We cannot construct any system worthy of the name Catholic unless that reality is acknowledged and is the foundation of the system. Even economic systems must at least not deny that Jesus is Lord and Christ. Why? Because they are human systems, and Jesus Christ is the summit of human perfection and aspiration.

After reminding us that there are many ways to construct a business, but that all must be structured as humane and human, and admit for variations in that structure so that gratuitousness is always acknowledged, the Holy Father moves to the issue of globalization. Globalization is not the product of anonymous impersonal forces. The decision to globalize is an act of the human will. It is underlaid by socio-economic processes, but it is a bigger process than New Balance deciding to offshore most of its shoe manufacturing, justifying it by the bottom-line results. Borders are breaking down. That is a material and cultural event “both in its causes and its effects.” “As a human reality, it is the product of diverse cultural tendencies, which need to be subjected to a process of discernment. The truth of globalization as a process and its fundamental ethical criterion are given by the unity of the human family and its development towards what is good. Hence a sustained commitment is needed so as to promote a person-based and community-oriented cultural process of world-wide integration that is open to transcendence.” Globalization is neither good nor bad. “We should not be its victims, but rather its protagonists, acting in the light of reason, guided by charity and truth. Blind opposition would be a mistaken and prejudiced attitude, incapable of recognizing the positive aspects of the process, with the consequent risk of missing the chance to take advantage of its many opportunities for development. The processes of globalization, suitably understood and directed, open up the unprecedented possibility of large-scale redistribution of wealth on a world-wide scale; if badly directed, however, they can lead to an increase in poverty and inequality, and could even trigger a global crisis. It is necessary to correct the malfunctions, some of them serious, that cause new divisions between peoples and within peoples, and also to ensure that the redistribution of wealth does not come about through the redistribution or increase of poverty: a real danger if the present situation were to be badly managed. For a long time it was thought that poor peoples should remain at a fixed stage of development, and should be content to receive assistance from the philanthropy of developed peoples. Paul VI strongly opposed this mentality in Populorum Progressio. Today the material resources available for rescuing these peoples from poverty are potentially greater than before, but they have ended up largely in the hands of people from developed countries.” Those of us who directly or indirectly benefit from companies who outsource have a duty to be the ethical voice that drives the managers to truly develop the people they employ overseas, so that their educational, spiritual and cultural wealth is enhanced, along with the size of their wallets.

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