The head of the commission representing Catholic bishops from the European Union has demanded tighter rules for the world economy to correct a "distorted hierarchy of values" highlighted by the global financial crisis.
"The current crisis has revealed that the pursuit of profit ultimately demolishes everything in its wake," president of the Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Community (COMECE) Bishop Adrianus Van Luyn of Rotterdam, Netherlands, said.
People who think the financial crisis has been caused by a lack of accountability are "perhaps overlooking the fact that it is far more our societal model that is being called into question", the bishop told the November 12-14 meeting of the bishops' commission.
"An economic model based on the continued and unlimited consumption of limited resources can only end in tears," he said.
Bishop Van Luyn said the crisis in world markets had "badly shaken" public trust in the economic and social order and would have "economic, social and political consequences" that could only be guessed at.
However, he said it had also "exposed a spiritual crisis and a distorted hierarchy of values" that even the best economic order would be powerless to stop.
"I am not just talking about bankers and traders, but rather about political representatives who promised more than they wanted to deliver," he said.
"It is always the same: To be seen to be successful, you must further your own interests rather than think about the common good. The goals of the few are eclipsing the greater good."
The Belgian-based COMECE represents more than a thousand Catholic bishops from the European Union's member states.
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