A international colloquium on the theme ‘Banking on the Common Good’ is taking place in the Vatican on Monday, with discussions focused on how to bring ethical values to bear on the world’s financial and monetary systems.

Jointly sponsored by the Pontifical Justice and Peace Council and several institutes supporting a values based economy, the colloquium took as its starting point a recent document from the Council which explores the roots of the global financial crisis.In a key note speech, the president of the Pontifical Council, Cardinal Peter Turkson from Ghana, said the past five years of economic crisis have shown there is an urgent need to restore public trust in the banks and other financial institutions. This can only be done, he said, if their activities are more focused on the common good and if there is some form of effective governance to make sure this goal is achieved.

During a break in the meeting, Philippa Hitchen spoke with Cardinal Turkson about the Council’s vision for a more regulated and equitable global financial system:Listen:

Cardinal Turkson highlights the imbalance between a rapid globalisation of the world's economic system and the lack of a corrsponding political authority to monitor this global phenomenon....

He says initiatlly there was a bit of concern, since some thought the Council's document was proposing a form of government, but he says "We never used that word. We're talking about authority and that can be regional, or it can be a series of authorities within, for example, the banking sector, the insurance sector, all meant to ensure that the Common Good is not left out..."There is a need to work for profit, the Cardinal insists, but also a big need to work for values. "Values must increasingly be seen as a gain and that's what we're pushing for."