U.S. bishops’ economic message: a reflection Essay


S. Bishops’ Economic Message: A ReflectionThe United States Bishops, writing in 1986, delivered a pastoral message on the subject of economics and justice in the country (U.S. Bishops).  Ostensibly it was aimed at the members of the Catholic Church within the United States, but being a general pastoral letter it reached out to bridge the Catholic world as a whole to impress upon each member the need for a new vision of monetary responsibility.

In the position of lay person I would respond enthusiastically.  It is sad to understand that if a message such as this had to be written, then the idea itself must be rather novel.  I see this, then, as a challenge and motivation for the society as a whole.  I would endorse any statement that links the ideas of economics with obligation and compassion.  It seems that particularly in a capitalist society the idea of using money to compassionately impact less financially stable people is an archaic, revolutionary idea.  It should, in fact, be the ideal, if not the norm.  That is my response.

Operating as a business consultant to the Bishops in 2010, I would be glad to share the same opinion as I offered above.  Certainly there is a crisis that has come to fulmination since the original message was conceived.  However, the same tone rings true.  The Bishops’ statement addressed the same vital issues that are present today.  They include frugality, responsibility and compassion (Introduction 1).

  These same standards should be present in 2010, and if they had been followed in the 24 years since original recommendation, then perhaps the economy would not have slipped into the morass that it has.  The money and therefore the jobs would have been spread much wider – the net would have caught people in opportunity, rather than stagnation and despair.  There would not be dire statements made by CEOs under duress explaining how they hid details from the public, how they took advantage of households that were financially desperate.  The Bishops’ statement had already addressed those issues.  It could have remained quite similar then, in 2010.In my mind, then, I feel that the statement should be reissued, nearly in toto.  The marketplace could heed a message of accountability, and especially so from a strong moral institution as the Catholic Church.

  Since the church has no axe to grind, they can be accepted as the more rational, objective approach.  Hopefully, then the market would expand upon sound accounting practicum.  Moral issue topics should be incorporated into each economic policy doctrine and strategy of corporations and businesses alike.  It would break tradition – but these fundamental changes would ultimately create a much more effective, public directed financial sector.Works CitedU.

S. Catholic Bishops. “Economic Justice for All.” 1986. Catholic Social Teaching.

2 May2010 http://www.osjspm.org/economic_justice_for_all.aspx. 


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