BBC News – Tax havens: Super-rich ‘hiding’ at least $21tn

A global super-rich elite had at least $21 trillion (£13tn) hidden in secret tax havens by the end of 2010, according to a major study.

The figure is equivalent to the size of the US and Japanese economies combined.

The Price of Offshore Revisited was written by James Henry, a former chief economist at the consultancy McKinsey, for the Tax Justice Network.

via BBC News – Tax havens: Super-rich ‘hiding’ at least $21tn.

Today’s first reading contained the much loved line by all social justice proponents…

and what does the Lord require of you, but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6: 8)

To do justice requires that all of God’s people are cared for and allowed to live a life of dignity and peace. The above story from BBC shows how great is the financial injustice in the world. The reality that a mere handful of persons holds this amount of wealth is bad enough. The fact that such an unbelievable amount is stashed away in safe havens, evading the social responsibility of taxes is completely incomprehensible.

The money comes from both developed and under-developed countries. The payment of fair taxes on such massive amounts could help turn around some national economies. Taxes pay not only for health care, education and social services. They also allow countries to pay down national debts. Yet, the wealthy continue to lobby politicians for tax laws that benefit them. Or shield their funds in off shore accounts.

Tax evasion by the wealthy is not only despicable, it is truly sinful. Shame on all who have hoards of money hidden away. And shame on all the banks, lawyers, and accountants who make it possible.

On the plus side the article points out that there is a nice stash of money that, if used properly, has the potential to help the world’s failing economy. Here’s hoping some wise governmental leaders and economists go after it.

The four minute video of the BBC interview with James Henry, the author of the study, is worth listening to.

liturgical finery – how much is too much?

Hello friends! As I thought, the summer days are flying by and blog posts are not being written. But, I found this piece on the NCR site and thought is was too good not to share. The YouTube video features Cardinal Raymond L. Burke speaking passionately about the beauty and sense of transcendence found in the Tridentine mass and its accompanying liturgical garb.

I am a big believer that our Catholic Church is large enough to accommodate a host of liturgical traditions. Diversity is a gift that offers options. We are enriched and nourished in different ways. So, choice is good.

But if I have a choice, this is not one I would make. I’ve always been a believer in elegant simplicity. Less is more. Over the top, excessive finery just looks tacky. It is a pathetic shout to the world that seems to scream, ‘look what I can afford!’

In my opinion, these lads in their heavy lace and gold-laden frocks do not look God-y….just gawdy!

Check it out….The Call of Beauty

a summer trip to rome

Piazza Novona, Rome. Only mad-dogs, Englishmen, and ignorant tourists brave the mid-day sun in summer!

Greetings to all the kind souls who follow this blog! I apologize for my absence, but I just came back from a whirlwind trip to Rome. The purpose of the trip was to give a presentation to the Society of Mary General Chapter in Rome. The timing coincided with a week of holiday. I scrambled to complete the presentations before our vacation, but had to finish the work at the lake. As a firm believer in holy leisure, this did not make me a happy camper! (I really need to work on my organizational skills, and fight those procrastination demons.) But the work was done, and I left for Rome last Thursday, and arrived home on Monday.

I received a warm welcome and gracious hospitality from our Marianist brothers, as always. I wrote about the experience on our International Organization of Marianist Lay Communities blog and was able to upload the power point presentation to YouTube. Pictures are always worth a thousand words. 🙂

Mass with the Sant’ Egidio community at Santa Maria in Trastevere

Rome continues to nudge me to ponder and contemplate both her beauty and her shadow side. I tried to put words to the jumble of thoughts on the National Catholic Reporter blog: Rome has plenty of beauty, but plenty of contrast too.

July and August are sacred months here in Canada. Our summers are short, and we try to squeeze as much sun and fun as we can. I will continue to update this blog as news and inspiration strikes. But, if holy leisure comes calling….please understand!

The Trevi Fountain. The water looked SO refreshing in the Roman heat!