2011-06-16 14:55:37

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.

The 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.

Speaking 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.

Instead 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 society”.

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: RealAudioMP3

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