BBC World Service

The pope’s economic philosophy

Marketplace Staff Aug 18, 2011
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BBC World Service

The pope’s economic philosophy

Marketplace Staff Aug 18, 2011
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Jeremy Hobson: Well now to the Pope. Who has been talking economics this morning. He’s in Spain for a Catholic Youth Conference.

For more on this, let’s bring in a man who follows the pope, David Willey of the BBC. He joins us from Rome. Good morning.

David Willey: Good morning.

Hobson: Well what’s the pope been saying this morning?

Willey: Well on the flight to Madrid where he’s attending this huge festival of Catholic youth from all over the world, he launched into the problems of the economy. He knows, of course, that there are many, many unemployed young people — not only in Spain, but in other parts of the world. And what he did was to denounce the mentality which says you have to make a profit at all costs. He insisted that morals and ethics have to play a greater role in formulating the world’s economic policy-makers.

Hobson: Well is this typical for the pope to talk about the economy like this?

Willey: Yes, it is, in some circumstances. The pope was the author of an encyclical letter, which is the highest form of papal teaching. He echoed the message of his predecessor John Paul II, who said that every economic decision has a moral consequence. And says that people should be worried more about people than about economic theory.

Hobson: And what is the impact of a speech like this — who is listening to this and is it likely to change the dynamic in the European debt crisis?

Willey: I don’t think it’s going to change anything suddenly, but it’s a message that will get a lot of publicity because the pope over the next four days is going to be high profile. In Spain itself, there’s a huge unemployment problem among young people — up to 30 percent of young people unemployed. So this is going to strike a note with many of his young, Catholic listeners who are going to say, “Yes, well, the pope does care about this and he does think that there is a moral side to economic policy.

Hobson: The BBC’s David Willey joining us from Rome. Thanks, David.

Willey: Thank you.

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