The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has set up a new Web site on Catholic teaching about the economy. The site includes the major Church documents dealing with economic issues, an online quiz on Catholic social teaching in this area, documents organized by policy issue areas, and ideas on how to get involved as individuals and as Church including catechetical resources and lesson plans. From the Web site, here are:
TEN CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES ON ECONOMIC LIFE
1. The economy exists for the person, not the person for the economy.
2. All economic life should be shaped by moral principles. Economic choices and institutions must be judged by how they protect or undermine the life and dignity of the human person, support the family and serve the common good.
3. A fundamental moral measure of any economy is how the poor and vulnerable are faring.
4. All people have a right to life and to secure the basic necessities of life, such as food, clothing, shelter, education, health care, safe environment, and economic security.
5. All people have the right to economic initiative, to productive work, to just wages and benefits, to decent working conditions as well as to organize and join unions or other associations.
6. All people, to the extent they are able, have a corresponding duty to work, a responsibility to provide for the needs of their families and an obligation to contribute to the broader society.
7. In economic life, free markets have both clear advantages and limits; government has essential responsibilities and limitations; voluntary groups have irreplaceable roles, but cannot substitute for the proper working of the market and the just policies of the state.
8. Society has a moral obligation, including governmental action where necessary, to assure opportunity, meet basic human needs, and pursue justice in economic life.
9. Workers, owners, managers, stockholders and consumers are moral agents in economic life. By our choices, initiative, creativity and investment, we enhance or diminish economic opportunity, community life and social justice.
10. The global economy has moral dimensions and human consequences. Decisions on investment, trade, aid and development should protect human life and promote human rights, especially for those most in need wherever they might live on this globe.
PRAYER DURING TIME OF ECONOMIC CRISIS
We know that your love is infinite and that you care about all areas of our life.
In this time of economic insecurity, help us to trust that all of our security is in you.
Keep us mindful that you always have and always will provide for our needs.
Apart from you we can do nothing.
We ask that you give our leaders the wisdom to guide our nation and the world
out of the current economic crisis.
Help us to protect the poor and all those who are struggling during this difficult time.
Provide for their needs and give them hope.
Open new opportunities for them and furnish the resources they need to live with dignity. Encourage those who have enough to share essential resources
with those who lack the necessities of life,
and to do so with humble, grateful and loving hearts.
We ask this through Christ, Our Lord. Amen.