Monday, October 06, 2008

At Synod's Opening Bell, Benedict Talks Banking

Opening today's first session of the Synod on the Word, the Pope saw fit to throw in a word on the global financial crisis, whose effects have buffeted European markets in recent days.

"We now see in the collapse of the great banks: money disappears, turns to nothing," B16 said in an impromptu meditation at the day's start. "And all these things, which seem like the true reality on which we can count, are realities of a second order.

"One who builds his life on these realities, on objects, success, on everything that's visible, builds on sand," the pontiff added, referring to options of sand or rock cited by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. "Only the Word of God is the foundation of every reality, fixed as the heavens and more than the heavens, is the reality."

"So we must change our concept of realism," he continued. "The realist is the one who recognizes in the Word of God, this reality apparently so weak, the foundation of everything. The realist is the one who builds his life on this foundation that remains permanently."

As several European governments pledged to protect bank deposits and undertook bailouts of their own for struggling finance houses, the Dow slid another 400 points in this morning's early trading, falling below 10,000 for the first time in four years.

PHOTOS: Reuters