CHICAGO, November 18, 2008
– There has been more bad news about the U.S. economy since the Presidential election; the stock market has plummeted, the country has lost more than 500,000 jobs since September, and companies that have been the backbone of the U.S. economy are hemorrhaging and pleading for help from the government. In these uncertain times, what spiritual wisdom and practical advice can the church offer?
Father Robert Barron, Chicago priest and theologian, points out that economics is seen by the church as part of morality, since it is crucial to the maintenance of the common good. “Maintaining the health and viability of our economic system is of pressing ethical importance because it honors the dignity of the human being as a free and self-directing agent.” Fr. Barron reminds Christians that while a vibrant economy is important, they should never allow anything in this world to be a substitute for God.
Reflecting on today’s economy, Fr. Barron believes some of the concrete and practical decisions people make have a direct impact on the financial crisis we are facing today. “I think there are certain bad moral practices that can be at the heart of an economic crisis like the one we are facing today. A willingness to live beyond one’s means, to pile up dangerous amounts of debt, to act as though contractual agreements are not binding, and to focus exclusively on one’s own economic advantage are moral decisions that have very bad consequences for the economy,” says Barron.
Father Barron emphasizes that while the world is good, earthly things are fleeting and Christians should put their confidence in God. Barron’s advice is to cultivate habits that foster one’s own good as well as the good of society. He also encourages an attitude of detachment. “This does not mean indifference to practical realities, but means a willingness to let go of anything—including wealth—that is less then God.” See Father Barron’s video comments on the financial crisis here: http://www.wordonfire.org/videoPlayer_yt.aspx
Father Barron is available for interviews. Please contact Christine Schicker at 404-610-8871 or Ashley Walker at 678-990-9032, both with The Maximus Group. You can watch other video commentary from Fr. Barron at www.WordonFire.org