The founder of the Catholic Business Journal has responded to Pope Benedict’s latest encyclical “Caritas in veritate,” characterizing it as a useful and practical “roadmap for all of humanity” that should be read by all business professionals.
Karen Walker, founder and manager of the Catholic Business Journal.biz, discussed the encyclical in an email interview with CNA.
“From a purely business perspective, this document is a godsend,” she said. In her view, the encyclical brings “revealed and natural truths” to bear on the social and political issues of our day, ranging from finance, sustenance, the market economy, socialism and the differences between charitable and for-profit entities.
She said Pope Benedict makes it “uncompromisingly clear” that to separate from these basic principles any entity, like a business entity, or any proposed political, social or economic solutions is to endanger both the men women and children to be served and also harms “the fabric of local, national and global societies.”
Walker listed what she saw as the core principles of “Caritas in veritate.” She noted the “undeniable purpose” for every human being that is “created and fulfilled ultimately only in God.” She also spoke of the encyclical’s emphasis on the dignity of the human person as the “pre-eminent concern” in every social, political and economic consideration.
These ideas are an “essential foundation” for solutions proposed by anyone regardless of his or her influence, she stated.
“Quite simply, Caritas In Veritate gives us what has always been the roadmap for all of humanity, yet in a manner that is immediately useful and practical for the pressing issues of our day!” she told CNA.
“He brings light to bear on issues of social justice, environmental concerns, profit-making, private-public partnerships and so forth. But he does not stop there.
“He shows us, repeatedly, that each of these issues can be, and often are, easily twisted to serve purely human ends in order to manipulate or coerce a body of people against their free will, or to deceive or prevent people against pursuing their highest and truest good. And in every case, Pope Benedict brings us back to the reality of human existence – we are creatures, we can only find our ultimate end, fulfillment, satisfaction and purpose in God. This defines everything we do.”
Walker summarized the practical outcomes of Pope Benedict's teaching:
“When authentic charity and the pre-eminence of individual human dignity, based on an authentic understanding of God and of man, is not included in any human equation—whether it is a corporate, charitable, political, environmental, social or economic consideration— then some level of destruction of innocent life and of society follows.”
She also noted Pope Benedict’s emphasis on gratitude as a response to the gift of human life and the gift of God to us.
“Caritas in veritate could be described as providing universal, undeniable, fundamental criteria against which we must test and evaluate business, corporate, political, social, economic, family, and charitable activities and decisions. I personally encourage every business professional to read and study this document, especially Catholics.”
The encyclical can guide business leaders, regardless of business size, in their responsibility and duty to lead others to Christ, she told CNA.
“If an authentic understanding of God and of our highest human purpose is left out of the equation in a decision, mission, strategy or policy, then something is fundamentally wrong and dangerous,” Walker concluded.
“On the other hand, if an authentic understanding of God and of our highest human purpose is pre-eminent, then a political structure, corporate entity, decision, or social solution has value beyond itself and all will benefit and all will be better for it.”