Reflecting on the pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI, Philip Booth, professor at Cass Business School in London, says the pope was clear on his economic ideas.
As he said in Caritas in Veritate: “Economy and finance, as instruments, can be used badly when those at the helm are motivated by purely selfish ends. But it is man’s darkened reason that produces these consequences, not the instrument per se”. In other words, credit derivative swaps are not evil, but those who abuse them might be.
He had a similarly wise understanding of the problems facing the welfare state. As he stated elsewhere: “There will always be suffering which cries out for consolation and help. The state which would provide everything, absorbing everything into itself, would ultimately become a mere bureaucracy, incapable of guaranteeing the very thing that the suffering person needs: namely, loving personal concern. We do not need a state which regulates and controls everything”. Solidarity as a virtue is far superior to an intrusive welfare state.
Booth goes on to say that Benedict, in this same encyclical, states that the state’s role is to serve, and that family and civil society must take priority over the state.