Eric LeCompte spoke with the Dialog on a recent Vatican high-level seminar where Pope Francis urged the creation of new global debt and tax policies that can reduce inequality and end poverty. Read an excerpt below, and click here for the full story.
Game changers: Vatican opens doors to leaders ready for finance reform
The leading “global decision-makers” all agree on the root causes of unsustainable inequality and are adamant about wanting to prevent yet another global financial crisis, said Eric LeCompte, executive director of Jubilee USA Network and an observer invited to the Vatican gathering.
He told Catholic News Service the problem comes in finding consensus on the solutions, “the ways forward for countries to get out of debt crisis and financial crisis and also for building an economy that’s more inclusive and where there is less of a distinction between the haves and the have-nots.”
LeCompte said, “Pope Francis really led his country as they were battling a type of predatory finance known as vulture funds,” so while he is continuing the same social teaching as his papal predecessors, “we see the Holy See talking more about very technical economic policies like derivatives and taxation and illicit financial flows.”
“There’s a real sense from this Holy Father that if we really want to change the structures that govern our economy, we need to be able to address these technical issues head-on,” he said.
The pope, in fact, made a point to stop by the pontifical academy in the early afternoon. And his lengthy and detailed written speech continued to hammer home basic and reasonable ethical principles: an end to money laundering, the arms industry and tax havens that drain billions from national economies; stopping repeated tax cuts for the wealthy; and relieving crushing, unsustainable debt burdens, to name a few.
LeCompte said many of the solutions put forward “are ones that Jubilee has advocated for over 20 years, and we’ve worked very closely with the Holy See on developing those positions, as well as with all other major religious institutions around the world.”
Just as the pope’s encyclical, “Laudato Si’,” sets a clear way to examine current structures and advocates for the values of global solidarity and environmental and economic justice, the Feb. 5 gathering was a continuation of that call for a more just world.
“We actually have a very clear path that needs to be taken,” LeCompte said, which begins with God’s creation of a rich and abundant world.
And, he said, the path leads toward that “jubilee promise that Pope John Paul II was the first to exclaim — that we all deserve to live in an economy where we all have enough.”
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