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Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Foundation Centesimus Annus – Pro Pontifice presents the winners of the “Economy and Society” award

Vatican City, 26 February 2015 (VIS) – This morning in the Holy See Press Office the Foundation Centesimus Annus presented its activity during the past two years, its programmes and the names of the winners of the second edition of its the biennial international award, “Economy and Society”. The speakers in the conference were Domingo Sugranyes Bickel, president of the Foundation, Michael Konrad, secretary of the jury, Msgr. Giuseppe Antonio Scotti, a jury member and Alberto Quadrio Curzio, president of the scientific committee of the foundation and deputy president of the Italian Lincean Academy.

The Foundation Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice, the president explained, was created by St. John Paul II in 1993, is managed by a council made up of nine laypeople and reports to the president of the APSA (Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See), currently Cardinal Domenico Calcagno, under the supervision of the Secretariat of State. Its main objective is to promote the Social Doctrine of the Church and it therefore invites the participation of businesspeople and professionals who acknowledge the principles of this Doctrine and of the papal Magisterium, and who wish to contribute to the creation of a new economic and social culture. Sugranyes Bickel emphasised that in these last two years the Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice has worked in line with the themes of Pope Francis' 2013 address, in which he remarked that it was essential to “restore to this word 'solidarity', viewed askance by the world of economics – as if it were a bad word – the social dignity that it deserves”.

Msgr. Scotti reiterated the importance of following Pope Francis' example in challenging the “deviant culture” that has reached the point of discarding people. “There are many who believe that the economy should assume the role of absolute producer of the aims and values to which every single aspect of the human dimension should be subject, justifying this with the fact that we live in a post-ideological, post-political age. Certainly, this would be an interesting aspect to analyse. … However, contemporary culture can also be analysed from the perspective of the Word of God. Considering that this award is assigned to authors who seek to contribute, through their studies, reflections and publications to learning anew how to take a scholarly view of the present and on the use of money, it seems appropriate to me to recall the words of the Qoheleth: 'Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless'”.

The names of the recipients of the second edition of the award were then announced: Pierre de Lauzun, for his work “Finance: un regard chrétien. De la banque mediéval a la mondialisation financière”, a profound reflection on the morality that motivates financial markets, viewed in the light of the social doctrine of the Church, inviting consideration of an order other than that purely linked to profit, and emphasising that there is no form of financial operation that may be separated from social realities and moral needs.

In the special section dedicated to young researchers of the social doctrine of the Church, the winner was Alexander Stummvoll, born in 1983, for his thesis “A Living Tradition. The Holy See, Catholic Social Doctrine and Global Politics 1965-2000”, presented in 2012 at the European University Institute, Florence, Italy. The study examines the Social Doctrine of the Church in international relations, referring to four major international issues that take a concrete event as a starting point. With reference to the war in Vietnam, he analyses the Holy See's commitment to peace; taking as a point of reference the Polish crisis before 1989 he studies the politics of the Holy See in relation to communism; from the conferences in Cairo and Beijing in 1994 and 1995 he examines the position of the Holy See regarding bioethical questions, and finally in relation to the campaign against Third World debt on the occasion of the 2000 Jubilee, he studies the Holy See's criticism of unfettered capitalism.

The awards will be presented by Cardinal Reinhard Marx, archbishop of Munich und Freising and president of the Jury, during the next International Congress of the Foundation, scheduled to take place from 25 to 27 May in the Vatican's New Synod Hall and in the Palazzo della Cancelleria in Rome, on the theme “Rethinking Key Features of Economic and Social Life”.

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