At least a few religious leaders of almost every stripe have come out in support of the Occupy Wall Street movement. The voices of Protestant, Jewish, Buddhist and Muslim leaders have been joined by the support of a group not everyone would have thought would throw in their hat into the OWS ring: The Roman Catholic Church.
The little known Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, and its leader Peter Cardinal Turkson, made headlines this week when it seemingly backed the OWS Protesters all over the world. Turkson, one of the architects of Towards Reforming The International Financial And Monetary Systems In The Context Of Global Public Authority, said that the underlying ideas behind the OWS Protests are “in line with the social teaching” of the Roman Catholic Church.
“If people can hold their government to account, why can we not hold other institutions in society to accountability if they are not achieving or not helping us live peacefully or well,” explained Cardinal Turkson.
This document, which reiterates a long-standing Church-backed withering (though strangely irony-free) criticism of the idolatry of capitalism, has brought on a firestorm of controversy. Catholics of liberal and conservative stripes have gone out of their ways to either embrace, or explain away, this Council’s “note” on the global financial system.
Of primary concern in many circles is the apparent call for a “central world bank” and a “world political authority” – in short a world government – to manage (and regulate) international business and provide for social welfare. While the Vatican has downplayed the importance of Cardinal Turkson’s note to the world, saying Turkson does not speak for the Church, it is hard to believe that the Pontifical Council’s attitude and message are not reflective of Roman Catholic teaching and dogma.