Business ethics is focus of upcoming Vatican summit

Business ethics is focus of upcoming Vatican summit


The ethics of finance will take center stage at the Vatican next week as business leaders from around the globe arrive for a two day “Executive Summit on Ethics for the Business World” from June 16 to 17.

“As a Church we never yield to the status quo and never should stop provoking or taking people beyond the status quo,” Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the summit co-organizer Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, told Vatican Radio June 10. 

He added that the Church should remind people of “the possibility of looking at things differently than to how they are used to do.”

“I guess that’s what it means to evangelize. To invite people to a level they’ve not thought of before.”

The discussion will largely focus on Pope Benedict XVI’s 2009 encyclical "Caritas in Veritate," whose title means "Charity in Truth." In the midst of global financial collapse, the encyclical advocated an ethics of finance rooted in the dignity of the person and the pursuit of the common good.

“I suppose there should be openness on the part of all to hear something new, to be challenged with something new,” the Ghanaian cardinal said about summit attendees arriving in Rome next week.

The cardinal said that if he speaks he will not address banking or law because that is not his area of expertise.

“But I can witness to the experience of other business people who, at a certain point, have had an experience of the Lord, of Christ, and have decided to do things differently.”
Cardinal Turkson said that only last month he came across a millionaire businessman in New York who had undergone a conversion experience and now is “putting whatever he makes at the service of the spread of the gospel.”

Other organizers of the upcoming summit are the Pontifical University Regina Apostolorum and the Fidelis International Institute. The event aims to promote ethical business practices in accordance with Christian social principles. 

Those business people who open themselves up to Catholic social teaching find it extremely stimulating, Cardinal Turkson said. The initiative is not the only one of its kind.

“I know, for example, in England there was an attempt to get bank executives together to study the aspects of the message of the Holy Father,” he added.

“Some have found it very enriching, very refreshing, very new, something they’ve never heard before.”