from issue no. 04 - 2009


by Paolo Mattei

The “Nova et vetera” column hosts in this issue two articles written once again by Lorenzo Cappelletti: The ancient story of Naboth repeats itself every day and The International Imperialism of Money. They have the social issue in common.
Published respectively in 1996 and 2001, by present day criteria they might be said to be thoroughly dated, but their relevance, given the ongoing global crisis, is quite obvious. So much so as to suggest the cover for this issue of 30Days.
After the collapse of the Twin Towers on 11 September 2001, our director stressed in an interview, quoted at the beginning of the second of the two articles, “the great global concern about a neo-capitalism consisting only of capital with no reference to industry and agricultural goods”. Well, today everyone would agree that that great concern was not unfounded.
But it is not so much that foresight that we aim to highlight with the republication of these two articles.
What we want to show, on the one hand, is that this concern has always been part of Scripture, Tradition and the Magisterium, that is, in short, of the depositum fidei. In his catechesis of Wednesday 22 April – which L’Osservatore Romano the day after entitled The greed at the root of the global economic crisis – Pope Benedict XVI speaking of Ambrosius Autpertus, again re-emphasized this through quotations from the works of this medieval monk, quotations which are at bottom just a comment on the Pauline sacra pagina of 1Tm 6, 10: “For the love of money is the root of all evils; it is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced their hearts with many pangs”. In an interview a few days earlier the archbishop of Milan, Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi, had expressed the same concern, saying that “investment means also being proportionate in wages, which must ensure the worker not only subsistence but a future of wellbeing”.
On the other hand we want to show that this concern is not soaring off the ground. It is faced by a consolidated front of opposing power. A front that we may briefly call gnostic, not in the strict sense because as such it would make obvious reference to ancient Gnosticism, but because it takes from it both the contempt for everything that is real in favor of what is utopian (see the ‘Sixtyeight’ slogan of “Imagination in power”) and the method of concealing itself. In a book that caused a stir last year Minister Tremonti wrote: “As we have seen in so many revolutions, that of globalization was prepared by the enlightened, carried out by fanatics, by preachers setting out with theological faith in quest of the earthly paradise” (Fear and Hope, p. 5). And the English writer Jonathan Coe, in an article in Corriere della Sera on 12 April entitled Why we will die Thatcherites, wrote: “But now the decision to tolerate greed, to live with it and even encourage it, has been transformed into a kind of madness”.
So, the two articles that we reprint sketch out works and figures, such as those of St Ambrose and Popes Pius XI and Paul VI, who, like the Apostle Paul, denounced the “insatiable avarice which is idolatry” (Col 3, 5) and pointed to prayer as the ever possible beginning of hope: “Pray, you who have only this, something that is more precious than gold and silver”.

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