‘Economic Examination of Conscience’
Religion & Liberty Online

‘Economic Examination of Conscience’

Kishore Jayabalan, Rome director of the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty, clarified remarks made by Pope Francis at a May 16 reception of new Vatican ambassadors. The pope, calling for an examination of the world’s relationship with money, said we are facing “dire consequences” due to the power we give money.

Jayabalan had this to say:

If we look at money as wealth itself, we can very easily place it above everything else. But if we look at money as a representation of wealth, as a measure by which we can judge whether we are using our resources well, it need not be an idol, but a useful instrument. The same goes for finance and the allocation of capital needed for new ventures and progress.

Jayabalan noted that we must also stress that economics is not simply about consumption, but human creation, and that “unregulated greed” leads to financial crises.

The Pope’s home country of Argentina is a good example of what happens when the rich and powerful make all the decisions — corruption, less competition, a shrinking middle class and no opportunities for the poor, which are the exact opposite of what proponents of the market economy had in mind.

Elise Hilton

Communications Specialist at Acton Institute. M.A. in World Religions.