Here is news about a new economic policy statement from the Vatican. Lots of good stuff in the document about abuses in the neoliberal world economy, and the need for reform. But then there’s this, from Reuters:

The Vatican called for the establishment of “a supranational authority” with worldwide scope and “universal jurisdiction” to guide economic policies and decisions.

Such an authority should start with the United Nations as its reference point but later become independent and be endowed with the power to see to it that developed countries were not allowed to wield “excessive power over the weaker countries”.

Here is the full text of the document. It’s actually worse than that news report. A direct quote; emphases mine:

In the same spirit of Pacem in Terris, Benedict XVI himself expressed the need to create a world political authority. This seems obvious if we consider the fact that the agenda of questions to be dealt with globally is becoming ever longer. Think, for example, of peace and security; disarmament and arms control; promotion and protection of fundamental human rights; management of the economy and development policies; management of the migratory flows and food security, and protection of the environment. In all these areas, the growing interdependence between States and regions of the world becomes more and more obvious as well as the need for answers that are not just sectorial and isolated, but systematic and integrated, rich in solidarity and subsidiarity and geared to the universal common good.

As the Pope reminds us, if this road is not followed, “despite the great progress accomplished in various sectors, international law would risk being conditioned by the balance of power among the strongest nations.”

The purpose of the public authority, as John XXIII recalled in Pacem in Terris, is first and foremost to serve the common good. Therefore, it should be endowed with structures and adequate, effective mechanisms equal to its mission and the expectations placed in it. This is especially true in a globalized world which makes individuals and peoples increasingly interconnected and interdependent, but which also reveals the existence of monetary and financial markets of a predominantly speculative sort that are harmful for the real economy, especially of the weaker countries.

This is a complex and delicate process. A supranational Authority of this kind should have a realistic structure and be set up gradually. It should be favourable to the existence of efficient and effective monetary and financial systems; that is, free and stable markets overseen by a suitable legal framework, well-functioning in support of sustainable development and social progress of all, and inspired by the values of charity and truth. It is a matter of an Authority with a global reach that cannot be imposed by force, coercion or violence, but should be the outcome of a free and shared agreement and a reflection of the permanent and historic needs of the world common good. It ought to arise from a process of progressive maturation of consciences and freedoms as well as the awareness of growing responsibilities. Consequently, reciprocal trust, autonomy and participation cannot be overlooked as if they were superfluous elements. The consent should involve an ever greater number of countries that adhere with conviction, through a sincere dialogue that values the minority opinions rather than marginalizing them. So the world Authority should consistently involve all peoples in a collaboration in which they are called to contribute, bringing to it the heritage of their virtues and their civilizations.

The establishment of a world political Authority should be preceded by a preliminary phase of consultation from which a legitimated institution will emerge that is in a position to be an effective guide and, at the same time, can allow each country to express and pursue its own particular good. The exercise of this Authority at the service of the good of each and every one will necessarily be super partes (impartial): that is, above any partial vision or particular good, in view of achieving the common good. Its decisions should not be the result of the more developed countries’ excessive power over the weaker countries. Instead, they should be made in the interest of all, not only to the advantage of some groups, whether they are formed by private lobbies or national governments.

More:

Globalization, despite some of its negative aspects, is unifying peoples more and prompting them to move towards a new “rule of law” on the supranational level, supported by a more intense and fruitful collaboration. With dynamics similar to those that put an end in the past to the “anarchical” struggle between rival clans and kingdoms with regard to the creation of national states, today humanity needs to be committed to the transition from a situation of archaic struggles between national entities, to a new model of a more cohesive, polyarchic international society that respects every people’s identity within the multifaceted riches of a single humanity. Such a passage, which is already timidly under way, would ensure the citizens of all countries – regardless of their size or power – peace and security, development, and free, stable and transparent markets.

World peace can be ours if we only submit to a one-world government that manages our lives and our finances. But who will lead this new international order to guarantee peace and prosperity? Who, oh who?

Lord have mercy. What was once only in the febrile prophetic imagination of Jack Chick and Hal Lindsey is now a press release from the Vatican. A friend (who is not Evangelical) writes:

This is going to FREAK the evangelicals out.  But it makes me wonder what the heck is going on in the minds of these Vaticanites!  Don’t they have a clue how the world will preceive this?  One world authority? ?  Really?

Count me with the Evangelicals. It freaks me out too, and will freak out many Orthodox Christians. I bet it has the same effect on not a few Catholics as well. Maybe Malachi Martin wasn’t such a conspiracy freak after all…

UPDATE: OK, let me take a second stab at this thing.

First, I don’t think there’s anything intentionally malicious about this document. It does not have magisterial authority, so it doesn’t set out the Church’s authoritative teaching on faith and morals. No Catholic is required to believe any of this.

Still, it is a deeply troubling document. Why? Because it attempts to ally religious authority to the creation of globally centralized political and economic power, with the idea that if only we rationalize our political and economic relationships, and put them under the authority of a wise Authority, we’ll all be better off. I can see how that would work in religious matters (hey, the Vatican is just that kind of authority), but in political and economic matters, it is a temptation to tyranny.

On a more practical level, it seems to me that they’re calling for the European Unionization of the planet at precisely the time when the EU is falling apart. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t the EU designed to be precisely what the Vatican dreams of? I mean, it’s a federation of sovereign nations seeking to integrate its economic life for the common good, and for the sake of peace. But it hasn’t worked in part because the good intentions designed to respect even its weakest members works toward paralysis of the whole, and in part because the most economically responsible members (Germany) find themselves on the hook for the bad behavior of other members (e.g., Greece). If the EU is to be saved, Germany is going to have to hand over more of its economic sovereignty, and more of its money. Plus, it’s almost certainly true that any centralized fiscal authority absent centralized political authority cannot succeed. So, national political sovereignty will be further eroded for the sake of the supposed “common good” so lauded by the Vaticanistas.

Is this really what the world wants and needs replicated on a global scale? Are the American people, the Russian people, and the Chinese people (to name but three) really prepared to relinquish sovereignty for the Vatican’s vision of a global superstate? The question is risible. What is so troubling, at least to me, is that this vision is accepted as a good and noble thing for humanity by the men in the Vatican. The problems they point out with the current system are very real. But their proposed solution would be a nightmare.