In their daily lives, Columbans witness the hardships brought about by destructive global economic structures and policies. For many farmers and factory workers, poverty and exclusion from the global economy is a life or death matter. As people of faith we are called to walk in solidarity with the economically poor and call for a global economy and market that serves the people.
“We recognize the moral challenge of worldwide and local poverty, and allow this recognition to qualify all our thinking… It means supporting the struggle of the poor for real participation and against injustice.”
–Missionary Society of St. Columban Constitution
We advocate for fair trade and debt relief.
Trade and debt agreements have human consequences, and must be evaluated with regard to the effects that they have on the poor and on Creation. Columbans work in many countries affected by free trade agreements that have a negative impact on local farmers and laborers.
These agreements tend to favor the interests of transnational corporations and make it more difficult for governments to defend labor rights and protect the environment. As a result, they drive migration, exacerbate poverty, and harm the environment.
In the same way, many developing nations pay debt service to wealthy nations and institutions at the expense of providing essential services, such as access to clean water, adequate housing, and basic health care, to their people. The Church believes trade and debt policies must be just and provide for the needs of the poor, the common good and our common home, rather than the profits of foreign investors and creditors.
We advocate for sustainable development and just economic models.
Pope Francis has referred to poverty as a sign of the times and a scandal. “In a world where there is so much wealth, so many resources to feed everyone, it is unfathomable that there are so many hungry children, that there are so many children without an education, so many poor persons. Poverty today is a cry.”
We believe that the current global economic model does not reflect the Gospel values of solidarity, justice, dignity, and respect for all of Creation. We believe the global economy should serve the poor and vulnerable with care and respect and reverence for all of Creation.
There must be a more just distribution of the world’s resources. Global economic development must be both equitable and sustainable: it must hear “both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor” (LS 49). “The need to resolve the structural causes of poverty cannot be delayed” (EG 202).
Economic Justice Resources:
Washington, DC- World leaders will gather in New Zealand on February 4 to sign the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a massive free trade agreement encompassing 40% of the world’s economy. Columban missionaries live in and serve communities in 7 of the 12 participating countries involved in this agreement. Because of this, Columbans have unique exposure to the negative impacts of free trade agreements on the worlds’ most vulnerable people.
Last November, President Obama released the long-awaited text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership while simultaneously announcing his intent to sign the expansive trade deal. Since then, advocates, including the faith community, have broadly mobilized in opposition to this deal.
It has now been over two months since the President released the long-awaited text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. In that time, both Congress and advocacy groups have prepared for the next steps. Due to the ratification of ‘fast-track’ authority last year, President Obama can sign the deal as early as February 4th, which seems increasingly likely. Once he signs the deal, the President must submit legislation to Congress to allow them to vote yes or no, without amendments.
On Thursday, November 5, the text for the long-negotiated Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) was finally released. On the same day, President Obama announced his intent to sign the agreement. Due to the ratification of ‘fast-track’ authority back in February, Congress now has 90 days to review the deal and decide yes or no.
Rampant human trafficking in Malaysia became an international controversy when Malaysia was upgraded from blacklist to tier 2 watch list in the “Trafficking in Persons Report” (TIP) only so Malaysia could be included in the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). The TPP is an international trade agreement between 12 Pacific Rim countries.
Copyright © 2019 Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach, Washington, D.C.