Friday, February 15, 2008

Church economics

This is an extremely interesting opinion piece by Fadi Abboud, the head of the Association of Lebanese Industrialists. Do not miss it if you read Arabic. The bulk of the article is an excerpt from a recent position paper of the Maronite Church on the economic situation of Lebanon. It is amazing (but too long to translate here)! The Church criticizes the (Hariri) post-war reconstruction policy, and the (Hariri) financial and borrowing policy that made the local banks richer and bankrupted the state, and accuses "statesmen" to have personally benefited from that! It also makes the point that migration (encouraged by Harirism) is neither irrevocable nor is it necessarily "free" as the country loses people who have benefited from education and hence from state investment. The Church also strongly criticizes the signature of Free Trade Agreements (promoted by Haririte governments) which destroy local economies. The paper also includes a series of recommendations.

By the way, the parenthesis are mine.

1 comment:

Leila said...

I am no expert on this, but it seems there are two strains in the Catholic church, one of which is more radical and concerned with social justice and the rights of the poor. My father's dear friend, Salim Ghazal, comes out of that tradition, and was indeed influenced by the Liberation Theology of South America. He is a Melchite and we all know about Melchite priests and their politics...

But there was a purge inside the church against the liberation theology priests. I have heard rumors of such things even inside Lebanon.

I would have assumed that the Maronite Church would be aligned with the more conservative power elite, as were many church officials in South American dictatorships. How interesting that they too are speaking up on behalf of the poor. Well I call that a sign of hope.

Do any of your readers have expertise in radical political movements in the Catholic church? There must be a history written somewhere on this topic. Because besides liberation theology, there is also Dorothy Day's Catholic Worker movement in New York. I lived in an apartment building full of radical nuns and ex-priests who worked with Dorothy Day House.