Holy See Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone has blamed the short term search for profit for the current financial crisis.
In a major speech on religion in a globalised world, Cardinal Bertone said on Tuesday the current financial crisis is the result of the search for short term profits as a goal in itself, and an example of what happens when basic rights and the common good are ignored, Associated Press reports.
"Politics and the market are not everything," Cardinal Bertone said.
They are, he said, a means but not an end. He said that when God is ignored, the ability to respect basic rights and recognise the common good fades away.
Addressing a meeting attended by Italian political and financial leaders, the cardinal assailed the search for short term profit, which, "virtually identified as a good in itself, ends up wiping out the profit."
Bertone recalled Benedict's recent trip to France, where the issue of religion in a country with a historic separation of church and state is a delicate topic.
"Christianity promotes values that should not be labeled as 'Catholic' and therefore one sided, acceptable only to those who share the same faith," Bertone said.
He said there were certain non-negotiable values, such as the promotion of life from conception to natural death, the protection of the family based on marriage between a man and a woman and the education of children.
"Human nature doesn't change with parliamentary majorities," Bertone said, "and not even with the passing of time, with the changing of latitude or longitude."
Meanwhile, addressing another conference, Bishop Giampaolo Crepaldi, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace said that Catholics need to wake up when it comes to politics, and stop leaving "God in the pew".
Bishop Crepaldi backed Pope Benedict's call earlier this month for "the birth of a new generation of Christians involved in society and politics."
He said the pope's call was addressed to the Christian communities "who, as far as the formation of new generations involved in society and politics is concerned, seem to be falling asleep."
The bishop explained the need for Catholic laity involved in politics in the context of the "the idea, perhaps unexpressed, that secularisation is an unstoppable process, a kind of 'destiny' of the West if not the entire planet."
Secularisation, as God's ejection from the world to the point that he ceases to speak to it, is not the destiny of modernity," the bishop remarked. He noted that this is precisely "the principal challenge" that Pope John Paul II faced, and that Benedict XVI is currently confronting. "We must confidently join them as real protagonists."
Vatican No. 2 blasts search for quick profits (Associated Press, 30/9/08)
Vatican Calls Lay Faithful to Effective Political Action (Zenit, 30/9/08)