Vatican calls for daring, ethical captains of industry
Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone opened the Executive Summit on
Ethics at the Vatican this Thursday with a call for business executives and
captains of industry to aim for a higher goal: the common good of humanity.
June 16th - 18th summit was organised by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace
with the aim of putting the advise of Pope Benedict XVI contained in the encyclical
Caritas in veritate, into practice, two years on from its publication.
at the opening session this morning, Card. Bertone said “Nowadays business leaders
who want to take the Church’s social teaching seriously will need to be more daring,
not limiting themselves to socially responsible practices and/or acts of philanthropy
(positive and meritorious though these may be), but striking out into new territories”.
The Secretary of State noted that business and social responsibility is an
increasingly important theme faced with the crisis in world finance today. “Ethical
theories concerned with business and social responsibility abound” he said, “but not
all of them are acceptable” especially those cases “where socially responsible practices
are adopted primarily as a marketing device”. And while the Cardinal Bertone praised
philanthropic initiatives in the business world he said there were simply not enough.
the Cardinal called on business men and women to meet the challenge of the “growing
labour demand” particularly on the part of the great numbers of young people, to incorporate
the society’s marginalised into their initiatives to “ensure that these people become,
not problems, but resources and opportunities: for themselves, for business, and for
society as a whole”.
He also called of a just administration of “common goods”
such as water, energy sources, communities, the social and civic capital of peoples
and cities. “More and more, we need business leaders with a social conscience, leaders
whose innovation, creativity and efficiency are driven by more than profit, leaders
who see their work as part of a new social contract with the public and with civil
Cardinal Bertone concluded “Business leaders are either “civil”,
in the sense that their commercial activity serves to build up the common good, the
good of all and of every individual, or else they are the reverse, as when they fail
to produce quality products, ignore innovation, fail to create wealth and jobs, and
pay no taxes”. Listen to full report by Emer McCarthy: