You might recall that last week I agreed with Pope Benedict XVI, who had argued that ethics should play a major role in economic policy making. My position is that economic policy decisions are — or should be — guided by moral values, and also have a moral impact on others.

The Pope’s sentiment was echoed this week by Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, head of the Italian Bishops Conference, who discussed the relationship between morality and politics. Here are Bagnasco’s comments:

“The moral issue in politics, as in every area of public and private life, is serious and urgent not only regarding individuals but also structures and organizations. …

We need to have a major cultural and social debate. … Those with particular responsibilities, at whatever level, and those with powerful economic interests, have a compelling duty more than others through their work to put forward cultural models that are certain to become prevalent.”

Once again, I agree. Public policy, like economic policy, should often be based on moral values, and most certainly has moral consequences for others. In fact, sometimes political values and rights are actually moral values and rights. Of course, I’d likely disagree with the Pope and Bagnasco about the content and basis of morality. But that’s a topic for another post.

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