Academic journal article Review of Business

Catholic Social Thought and Business Ethics: Catholic Social Thought and Business Ethics; the Application of 10 Principles

Academic journal article Review of Business

Catholic Social Thought and Business Ethics: Catholic Social Thought and Business Ethics; the Application of 10 Principles

Article excerpt


Catholic Social Thought is a treasure trove of moral wisdom formulated to inform the conduct of believers. This doctrine is designed to help form the consciences and guide the actions of people the world over, not the least of who are those responsible for leading business institutions.



The Magisterium, or teaching authority of the Catholic Church, provides a comprehensive body of doctrine to guide those of the faith. This guidance extends to the moral aspects of economic activity. The resources of Catholic Social Thought (CST) have been underutilized in this regard, however. The moral wisdom they provide has simply not been tapped into sufficiently. This paper is an attempt to rectify the situation. My goal is to link 10 themes of CST to their applications to present day political/economic realities.

Ten Themes of Catholic Social Thought

Trinitarian Love: God's Existence and Nature

It is evident from the normative expression of the Christian faith found in the Church's Creeds that the Christian worldview is theistic--i.e., the touchstone proposition is the belief in the existence of one supremely powerful, transcendent and personal God. The theism of Christianity is thus distinguishable from worldviews that deny the existence of God (atheism), that hold that many gods exist (polytheism), that believe that everything that exists is God (pantheism), or that assert that the God who created the Universe has now fully withdrawn himself (deism). But Christianity differs from the theism of Judaism and Islam in its belief that the New Testament discloses in Jesus Christ a person both fully God and fully man--i.e., God became incarnate in his only begotten son Jesus Christ.

To understand the basic Christian beliefs about man and the universe, to understand the fundamental assumptions that make the Christian see the world as he or she does, the place to naturally begin is with God. That is, since the Christian worldview is theocentric, insight is particularly sought into the Being at the center of this belief system.

What is God's nature? What has God done? What is God continuing to do? The first item of the Catechism provides a concise summary of the Catholic vision or understanding of reality:

       God, infinitely perfect and blessed in himself [who God is] in a
       plan of sheer goodness freely created man [what God did] to make
       him share in his own blessed life [why God made man]. For this
       reason, at every time and in every place, God draws close to man.
       He calls man to seek him, to know him, to love him with all his
       strength. He calls together all men, scattered and divided by
       sin, into the unity of his family, the Church [how God
       accomplishes his purposes]. To accomplish this, when the fullness
       of time had come, God sent his Son as Redeemer and Savior. In his
       Son and through him, he invites men to become, in the Holy
       Spirit, his adopted children  and thus heirs of his blessed life

Human Personhood: Sacred, Social, Inclined to Evil

"God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him: male and female he created them" (Genesis 1:27). Human beings are the crowning glory of God's creative work in the universe. We are the only creatures on Earth that God has willed for its own sake and everything has been created by God for us. In a word, man has been loved into existence by God, formed in the very likeness of God and deliberately designed as male and female.

The vocation of being human is to come to the fullest development of the distinctive human powers of intellect and will by knowing truth and loving goodness. The supreme truth is God and the supreme goodness is God. Therefore, the ultimate purpose is to know and love God, and since our imperishable soul destines us eternally, to enjoy Him forever. …

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