Some opinion from Aberdeen, South Dakota:

Is the Vatican joining the Occupy Wall Street movement?

Well, not quite. But last month the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Peace and Justice did issue a document whose themes echo some Occupy Wall Street slogans, including its condemnation of inequalities in wealth distribution and of “collective greed.”

The document’s cumbersome title, “Towards reforming the international financial and monetary systems in the context of global public authority” reveals its central thrust. It finds the roots of our current economic troubles in a lack of oversight of global financial markets.

The long-term solution, it suggests, is to gradually establish an international authority to regulate those markets. It envisions, for example, establishing a regulatory “central world bank” and taxing global financial transactions in order to help support economies in developing nations.

The council’s president, Cardinal Peter Turkson, said “the basic sentiment” behind the Occupy Wall Street protests is in line with Catholic social teaching. “People who suffer from the way the financial markets currently operate have a right to say, ‘Do business differently. Look at the way you’re doing business because this is not leading to our welfare and our good.’ The Vatican is not behind any of these movements, but the basic inspirations can be the same.”

Both the document and Occupy Wall Street agree that the global financial system must be held to greater accountability. “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?” Turkson argues.

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