Forum told Catholics more tolerant of corruption

A speaker at a Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace forum on corruption in the developing world has said that countries with a predominantly Catholic population tend to be more corrupt and that the average citizen in these countries tends to be more tolerant of corruption.

Jong-Sung You, a doctoral fellow at Harvard University's Inequality and Social Policy Program, told Catholic News Service at the event that countries with a large proportion of Protestants not only put into place more controls against bribery, but the citizens are also less tolerant of corruption.

Mr Jong-Sung was among some 80 experts from across the world were invited to the closed-door meetings. Participants included church leaders, government advisers and representatives of local non-governmental organisations, the United Nations and the World Bank, including its president, Paul Wolfowitz.

The data concerning people's religion and their values, including their tolerance of corruption and bribery, come from two polls - one from 1995 and another from 1999-2001 - conducted by World Values Survey.

But while the surveys' findings are "disturbing and uncomfortable," the church can take advantage of its historically influential role in society, he said.

Just as the church in countries led by authoritarian regimes eventually helped overthrow dictatorships and usher in democracy during the 1960s-80s, the Catholic Church can "switch to (be) an anti-corruption force," he said.

Also at the forum, Cardinal Renato Martino (pictured) said the church "must put all its religious and moral energy" into fighting a phenomena that has become a "cancer of global corruption," including "stigmatising corruption and denouncing its evil effects."

Bishop Dinualdo Gutierrez of Marbel from the Philippines told journalists that thanks to church efforts the poor in his region of Mindanao are no longer forced to pay bribes to receive basic public services.

He said the problem is no longer rampant because government officials are more hesitant to abuse their powers "because they know the church is serious in fighting corruption."

Church must fight global corruption, say Vatican forum participants (Catholic News Service 6/6/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace
Jong-Sung You Home Page
Harvard University Inequality & Social Policy Multidisciplineary Program

Corruption Seen as a Threat to Democracies (Zenit 6/6/06)
Conference on democracy, institutions and social justice (Vatican Information Service 16/5/06 - temporary url)
Holy See Backs a "Human Ecology" (Zenit 15/5/06)
Holy See's U.N. Address on Human Ecology (Zenit 15/5/06)

8 Jun 2006