The Church and trade liberalization

. . . is the topic of my latest Trade Tripper column in this Friday-Saturday issue of BusinessWorld. Excerpts:

"Recently rereading the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church and again appreciating how much the doctrines of the Catholic Church on trade liberalization could be read alongside the objectives of the WTO.

x x x

Interestingly, Paragraph No. 352 of the Compendium declares that: "The fundamental task of the State in economic matters is that of determining an appropriate juridical framework for regulating economic affairs, in order to safeguard ’the prerequisites of a free economy, which presumes a certain equality between the parties, such that one party would not be so powerful as to practically reduce the other to subservience.’"

To this, Pope Benedict XVI’s Encyclical Letter Deus Caritas Est expounds: "In today’s complex situation, not least because of the growth of a globalized economy, the Church’s social doctrine has become a set of fundamental guidelines offering approaches that are valid even beyond the confines of the Church: in the face of ongoing development these guidelines need to be addressed in the context of dialogue with all those seriously concerned for humanity and for the world in which we live. x x x The just ordering of society and the State is a central responsibility of politics. As Augustine once said, a State which is not governed according to justice would be just a bunch of thieves." (underscoring supplied)

As I wrote in last week’s column, more than individual freedoms, today’s complicated world actually demands of us to consider each of our responsibilities instead. To this, I add, that to have a consistency of our thoughts and actions with our values is necessary as well."