Peace & Justice

This is the blog of the Commission on Peace and Justice for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, New York.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Can business lead to holiness?

Catholic News Service reports that the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace has released a handbook for business educators and entrepreneurs to help businesses stay strong and healthy, and avoid the occupational hazards of greed, overwork and exploitation.
"Vocation of the Business Leader: A Reflection" is a 30-page primer from the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace that spells out the risks of unethical economic strategies and the principles needed for running a sound, moral business.

It seeks to heal the so-called "divided life" of Catholic employers, who may practice their Christian values at home and church, but not in the company they manage or run.

"Dividing the demands of one's faith from one's work in business is a fundamental error which contributes to much of the damage done by businesses in our world today, including overwork to the detriment of family or spiritual life, an unhealthy attachment to power to the detriment of one's own good, and the abuse of economic power in order to make even greater economic gains," the booklet says.

The ethical principles of the church's social teaching are presented not as hindrances to the smooth functioning of a market economy but as tools for its repair.

"Without guiding principles and virtuous leadership, businesses can be places in which expediency overcomes justice, power corrupts wisdom, technical instruments are detached from human dignity, and self-interest marginalizes the common good," it says.

The reflection was issued with zero fanfare in Rome: just a simple communique in French noting it was available online through the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn.

The real unveiling came in Lyon, France, where about 2,000 people gathered for a world congress of Christian business leaders March 30 to April 1.

The council's president, Cardinal Peter Turkson, presented the guidebook at the congress, saying the church wanted to help business people excel in their field and their faith.

Far from portraying business as a bogeyman, the text acknowledges that "businesses produce many of the important conditions which contribute to the common good of the larger society" and support the well-being of individuals.

But when the common good and human dignity are neglected in an exclusive pursuit of profits and dividends, the authors warn, an otherwise noble vocation has been hijacked.

The handbook offers a renewed vision of what successful businesses are meant to be and do.

You rest of the article and a link to the booklet can be found here.

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