Today, a single section with five proposals that address the vast topic of international justice. Would you agree that bishops bear a responsibility for forming believers to act with virtue and ethics in society?
406. The Church in Latin America and the Caribbean feels that it has a responsibility to form Christians and sensitize them to the major issues of international justice. Hence, both the shepherds and the builders of society have to be alert to international discussions and standards in this area. This is especially important for lay people who take on public responsibilities in solidarity with the life of peoples. Hence we propose the following:
a) Support the participation of civil society for the reorientation and consequent restoration of ethics in politics. Hence, venues for the participation of civil society to make democracy effective, a true economy of solidarity, and comprehensive, sustainable development in solidarity are all very important.
North of the Rio Grande, deeply political people seem more concerned about ideology than ethics. But in the long run, in a society with balance between government philosophies, corruption is a far greater danger than extremist political views.
b) Shape a Christian ethics that sets as a challenge achieving the common good, creating opportunities for all, battling corruption, and enforcing labor and labor union rights. Priority must be given to creating economic opportunities for traditionally excluded sectors of the population, such as women and youth, based on recognition of their dignity. Hence, efforts must be made toward a culture of responsibility at all levels involving persons, companies, governments, and the international system itself.
Whatever one thinks of labor unions and how they have manifested poorly in history, the benefits have outweighed the negatives. There is little other place for democracy than in the union of workers within a business and across the lines of professions to ensure a needed corrective on runaway corruption in business.
In proposal three, foreign debt needs to be looked at:
c) Working for the common good means promoting just regulation of the economy, finances, and world trade. It is crucial that the burden of foreign debt be lifted in order to foster investments in development and social spending.(Tertio Millennio Adveniente 51, Santo Domingo Document 197) Global regulations should be devised to prevent and control speculative movement of capital, promote fair trade and the lowering of the protectionist barriers of the powerful, assure adequate prices for raw materials produced by impoverished countries and fair regulations for attracting and regulating investments and services, and so forth.
Looking seriously at how trade across borders affects people, and ensuring that more than the wealthy will benefit:
d) Examine carefully intergovernmental treaties and other negotiations over free trade. The Church in the Latin American country involved, taking into account all the factors in play, must find the most effective ways to alert the politicians responsible and public opinion to the possible negative consequences that can affect the most exposed and vulnerable sectors of the population.
And a task for all people, not just Christians:
e) Call on all men and women of good will to put into practice fundamental principles like the common good (the home is everyone’s), subsidiarity, and intergenerational and intragenerational solidarity.
Remember that these five points are intended to be a starting point, not a blueprint. It is up to lay people across the world to fashion particular initiatives in economies local, regional, and international that bring the greatest benefit to the world’s peoples.
For deeper examination, an English translation of the 2007 document from the Aparecida Conference.