Fiscal Papal: Why The Next Pope Should Address Global Debt

The recent resignation of Pope Benedict XVI is the first papal resignation in the last 600 years and ends an eight year term as the head of the Catholic Church.  This has set into motion the complex sequence of events to elect the next leader of one of the wealthiest and most powerful organizations on earth.

The challenge for the new Pope, as the head of a church that represents 1 out of every 7 people on the planet, should be to start the process of steering civilization back onto the path of moral and fiscal prosperity.   In order to do this the papal council should consider the fiscal leanings and economic ideals of the next Pope.  While the papcy considers such things as how to strengthen their flock at home, as well as continuing to fend off the rise of Islam, once of the considerations should be fiscal health, not of the church which is overflowing with wealth, but of the world in which the church serves.

According to a recent WSJ article, the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI marks “the end of a transitional papacy that focused more on theological and internal renewal and less on the broader challenges that face the Roman Catholic church at the start of its 21st century of existence.”  The article went on to state that:  “The pope’s surprise announcement paves the way for a successor who will confront anew the task of rebuilding the church’s foundations in an increasingly secular and skeptical West while continuing to spread its roots in the rapidly growing emerging world.”

That task is likely to be a daunting one.  In 1787 when our original 13 states adopted their new constitution, Alexander Tyler, a Scottish history professor at the University of Edinburgh had this to say about “The Fall of the Athenian Republic” some 2,000 years prior.

“A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government…”

The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations from the beginning of history has been about 200 years. During those 200 year spans, according to Tyler, these nations always progressed through the following sequence:

“From bondage to spiritual faith;
from spiritual faith to great courage;
from courage to liberty;
from liberty to abundance;
from abundance to complacency;
from complacency to apathy;
from apathy to dependence;
from dependence back into bondage.”

Look around the world today.  The once great nations of this earth have fallen back towards bondage as rising debt levels due to fiscal irresponsibility have eroded global economic prosperity.  Spiritual faith and great courage have given way to fears of political incorrectness and acceptance of moral sins.  Personal liberties have been eroded in the name of “safety” as more power is transferred to the state.  Complacency, and apathy, have risen as dependence on the welfare state has grown as evidenced by the record number of individuals claiming food stamps and disability.  To the average citizen the decline of economic prosperity is evident as the struggle to maintain their standard of living becomes an ever larger struggle.

It is clear that, according to the Bible, debt is a sin.

“Let no debt remain outstanding except the continuing debt to love on another”  Romans 13:8

“Pay everyone what you owe him”  Romans 13:17

“The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.” Proverbs 22:7

Therefore, should the new Pope not be as concerned about the “fiscal sins” of its flock just as much as their “moral health?”   If Tyler is correct then we are already well on our path back to dependence and bondage.  Dependence on government for support and bondage through debt.

The problem for the current Administration, as well as the Catholic church, is that they are too far removed from their base to clearly see what should be done.  By electing only Cardinals to be Pope these individuals have become “institutionalized” over time and have lost their ability to clearly see the problems that are truly causing the decline of their fellowship.

Much like our own administration – the next Pope is unlikely to be much different than the last.  The views and actions that have led to globe to the brink of fiscal chaos will continue to go ignored, or pushed off, until something finally breaks.  It will only be then that the leaders of the world, including the Catholic church, will leap into action to attack a problem that no one saw coming.  Yet, in the end, those in the upper echelon will continue to prosper while the rest of the world continues to remain in bondage.   Well, at least until the next empire emerges from the ruins.

This piece is cross-posted from Street Talk Advisors with permission.

One Response to "Fiscal Papal: Why The Next Pope Should Address Global Debt"

  1. joseph glynn   February 19, 2013 at 11:27 am

    Yes. This is important. The debt mountain is not portable. We arguably need a grand global Jubilee. The Jubliee tradition derives from the royal clean slate which is the oldest recorded written law. It staves off revolution, redistributes wealth from the 1% to the poorest and is a key to, and guarantee of periodic, socio-economic renewal. In the Christian tradition it is like a Sabbath, but occurring every seven years. It 'releaseth the debt slaves, restoreth the landless to their rightful share of the earth and granteth sight to the blind'. The latter is obviously a metaphor for making the inner workings of capitaliist croneyism transparent.
    After fasting for 40 days Christ proclaimed the Jubilee or 'Acceptable Year of the Lord'. The declaration of Jubilee was central to his mission. The pope and a majority of Vatican theologians have largely lost sight, it would seem of the wholistic core and integrity of Christianity. Their preoccupiation with ritual, piety and passive acceptance has made the Catholic church the anaemic, pious, conservative Christian church it is.
    This pope back-pedalled furiously in 2000, which year ought to have been a Grand Jubilee.
    Eating the richest bankers and land monopolists, metaphorically speaking , may even be a moral imperative if we are genuinely in pursuit of social and economic justice and sustainability.
    Thanks for raising this issue. Here in Ireland the poor and low paid will service and repay the debt burden of the richest, most greedy and reckless insiders.