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US ELECTIONS/ Looking at the Economy

LORENZO ALBACETE uses the words of Pope Benedict XVI to comment on the issue of the US economy, the most important issue in the 2012 presidential election campaigns.

(Infophoto) (Infophoto)

The seemingly endless campaign for the November election to the presidency of the United States has finally reached its last stage. On May 5 President Barak Obama gave two officially designated campaign speeches (meaning that his campaign committee paid for them) directly attacking Mitt Romney by name, to which Romney quickly responded. The topic of the speeches was the economic policy, which no doubt will be the main topic of the campaign, in spite of debates now and then on other issues.

Due to the prominence given to the controversy between the Catholic Bishops about religious liberty, it is possible that the media will pay attention to the Catholic teaching on other topics in the Social Doctrine of the Church, such as economic policy. To this end, I thought the following points made by Pope Benedict XVI in a speech given last week to five non-residential Ambassadors to the Holy See were useful.

The Pope noted that the "global economic crisis has caused an increasing number of families to live in precarious conditions. When the manufacture and increase of needs leads us to believe in the possibility of unlimited enjoyment and consumption, the lack of the means necessary to achieve these ends leads to frustration." On the other hand, there are those situations where poverty and enormous wealth exist side by side, leading to "a sense of injustice...which can become a source of rebellion. Therefore it is necessary for States to ensure that legislation does not increase social inequality and that people can live dignified lives."

The Holy Father went deeper into the issue of a just economic policy and spoke of human development as necessarily involving the whole of the person, not just economic factors.

"Experiences such as micro-credit, and initiatives to create cooperative associations show that it is possible to harmonize economic objectives with social necessities, democratic government and respect for nature," the Pontiff affirmed. "It is also advisable to encourage manual work and to promote an agriculture which works in favor of local people, viewing these activities with the respect they deserve."