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Voltaire's apprehensions

· Tradition and credibility ·

The Christian tradition has always taught people to live a continuous conversion in the search for the perfection of the Gospel. But this striving for the good should also be reflected in the earthly/worldly/secular activities which are also necessary in the works of the Church, especially as these should offer a truly exemplary, efficient model, in comparison with the outside world, in order to be a credible force.

The current times are influenced by a fast-paced phase of globalization and an economic crisis that will not be resolved in the short term. Both are factors that demand adaptation to the new regulations for conducting business also by the economic institutions of the Church, which should strive to efficiently optimize the management and utilization of the necessary resources for religious works – administered directly or through the institutions themselves, congregations and dioceses – so that their action does not weaken in the face of unforeseen and possible new risks.

These institutions, in such a complex situation, should reinforce not only their own competence, but also their credibility, so as not to jeopardize the Church's integrity. On this occasion, this may mean the need to adapt to external and global demands that require additional information and total transparency in financial operations. The institutions, without modifying their juridical status, unique in the world and necessary for their own mission, should, on the contrary, safeguard it to improve the operational capabilities in an exemplary way, consistent with the necessary ethical spirit that should distinguish their conduct in general and even more so the status of the structures of the Church.

This attitude, combined with availability, is essential to facilitate participation in creating that global society desired by Benedict XVI, and for which his closest collaborators are working in order to guarantee a strong presence of Christian values in earthly/secular/worldly activities.

In line with tradition, it is necessary to be a guide and an example, complying with the just rules, to maintain and reinforce the Catholic identity and thus ensuring the necessary renewal – disoriented, but in need of justice – which is now being achieve. The presence of the Church, with her values, is essential also in this process, not only because it was precisely her tradition which inspired modern economic thought thanks to late scholastic theologians, but also because without these works of charity, spiritual and material, the world would not be able to support itself and neither would it succeed in supporting itself in the future.

Many people are always ready to criticize the Catholic Church. Also criticising her economic resources, without which the Church could not provide those works for the benefit all, even those who are visibly outside of her limits. One example is that of Voltaire, who desired that those who were close to him – his wife, lawyer, servants – be raised as Christians, believing in God and obeying the Commandments. He wanted this because he knew very well that it was the only proven way to not be betrayed, deceived and robbed. To continue to guarantee this good reputation it is, at times, necessary to renew the tools. As Irenaeus of Lyons once affirmed during the second century, it is the faith that is always young and that rejuvenates.

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