Peace & Justice

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

Saturday, June 02, 2012

A Note on business leads to this Reflection

Last year, the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace created quite a stir when it issued a Note on the global financial system. Now the president of the same Council, Cardinal Peter Turkson, has released a new – and very different – Reflection about the nature and ends of business. [You may recall that Cardinal Turkson was in Albany last month.]

From the Executive Summary:

When businesses and market economies function properly and focus on serving the common good, they
contribute greatly to the material and even the spiritual well-being of society. Recent experience, however,
has also demonstrated the harm caused by the failings of businesses and markets. The transformative
developments of our era—globalisation, communications technologies, and financialisation — produce
problems alongside their benefits: inequality, economic dislocation, information overload, financial
instability and many other pressures leading away from serving the common good. Business leaders who
are guided by ethical social principles, lived through virtues and illuminated for Christians by the Gospel,
can, nonetheless, succeed and contribute to the common good.

Obstacles to serving the common good come in many forms —lack of rule of law, corruption, tendencies
towards greed, poor stewardship of resources—but the most significant for a business leader on a
personal level is leading a "divided" life. This split between faith and daily business practice can lead
to imbalances and misplaced devotion to worldly success. The alternative path of faith-based "servant
leadership" provides business leaders with a larger perspective and helps to balance the demands of the
business world with those of ethical social principles, illumined for Christians by the Gospel. This is
explored through three stages:
seeing, judging, and acting, even though it is clear that these three aspects
are deeply interconnected.

To read the entire document, go here.

To read what others are saying, go here, here and here.

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