October 19, 2021

Catholic Law Professor Veryl Miles recently published her paper, “Looking Beyond the Profit and Into the Light: Consumer Financial Protection and the Common Good,” in the Notre Dame Journal of Law, Ethics & Public Policy, Vol. 35. In the article, Miles considers whether secular laws through faith-based perspectives on justice can be worthwhile when assessing whether we are a just and fair society for all citizens—in particular access to fair, equitable, and helpful consumer financial products and services.

Notre Dame Journal of Law, Ethics & Public Policy
By: Veryl Miles
Date: 2021
Looking Beyond the Profit and Into the Light: Consumer Financial Protection and the Common Good

The intention of this Article is to review the various statements of Catholic Social Teaching that are fundamental in describing economic justice and that are most pertinent to any consideration of consumer financial protection as essential to the common good. This review will begin with Pope Leo XIII's 1891 encyclical Rerum Novarum and other encyclicals that followed Rerum Novarum as a continuum of Church teaching regarding social and economic justice; the pastoral letter from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops entitled Economic Justice for All (1986); and the Pontifical Council of Justice and Peace's handbook on the Vocation of the Business Leader (March 2012). The next Part of this Article will include a description of the original goals and mission of the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010 (the Act) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (the CFPB), and an assessment of how the intended goals and objectives of the Act and the structure and activities of the CFPB reflect the values and goals of social and economic justice from the perspective of Catholic Social Teaching. That is, to what extent do these legislative and regulatory initiatives bring us closer to providing for and ensuring that consumer financial products and services are accessible, fair, and helpful in meeting the needs of all potential users and the interests and rights of providers in the spirit of economic justice informed by Catholic Social Teaching?

To access the full article, click here.