Christianizing business PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 20 August 2016 12:04

REFLECTION

BY FR. ROY CIMAGALA

Business since it is an important part of our life, should be done to serve the common good. That is why the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church dedicates a big section to this topic of morality and the economy.

In one point of the Compendium, it is said that “the relation between morality and economics is necessary, indeed intrinsic: economic activity and moral behavior are intimately joined one to the other.” (331)

We can go to the extent that business not only serves the needs of people. It also is way of sanctification, a path to heaven, an occasion to get truly in touch and with great intimacy with God.

It should be redeemed from being simply done in a materialistic and godless way, expressed in terms of money and profit alone. That would be an inhuman business that would sooner or later convert us into objects or targets, and not anymore as persons, and much less as children of God.

Rather, business should actively contribute in making

people fulfill their true dignity as persons and children of God, and not just as workers and consumers though these also enter into their being persons and children of God.

The Compendium further clarifies that “the necessary distinction between morality and the economy does not entail the separation of these two spheres but, on the contrary, an important reciprocity.”

Given the big tendency today for us not only to separate the two but also to put them in conflict, this doctrine is very relevant. Quite often we are forced to make a choice between the two.

We are made to believe they cannot be together.

Everyone of us, in the different levels and aspects of life, from the individual to all levels of collectivity that we get involved in, should realize that we need to be well grounded in the correct delineation of the link between morality and spirituality, on the one hand, and the economy, on the other hand.

We cannot remain naïve in this regard. We cannot anymore afford to stay primitive in this concern. Those involved more in the promotion of morality—priests and teachers—should be mindful of the objective needs of economics and should foster rather than obstruct their fulfillment.

So they should try their best also to know more and more about economics—its laws and different doctrines—so they could attune their teaching and counsels to concrete conditions of the people, and not remain only in theories that hardly have any impact on real situations.

We are now into an interdisciplinary way of life. We should continue our education and formation, updating ourselves with the endless flow of developments that are now also monitored more closely by our new technologies.

Those working more directly in the economy—employees and employers, businessmen, investors, etc.—should also be mindful of the requirements of morality. They just cannot remain in the level of  practicality and profitability. They have to know the deeper needs of men and learn to adapt their economic plans to such needs.

The crises we are witnessing in the world at present are caused to a great extent by our not integrating morality and spirituality with our economics, business and politics. This is the challenge we are facing these days.

Let’s hope the bigger entities—churches, government, schools, families—can help in tackling this challenge, developing programs for this particular concern.

A lot of pertinent education in all levels of society is needed to make everyone at least to be aware of this concern, if not to empower them to effectively participate in shaping and keeping our economic system alive and healthy.

What is desired is that more and more people develop a growing sensitivity to the requirements of the basic social principles of the common good, solidarity and subsidiarity in their different aspects and levels. Alas, I wonder what efforts are made to pursue this particular goal.

Besides, there are basic questions that need to be clarified yet. Like, how do we strike a healthy balance between profit and social responsibility, private property and universal destination of goods, individual initiatives and corporate activities, confidentiality and transparency, etc.

I could readily see that there can be no easy answers to these questions, nor rigid formulas to follow. What’s needed is a continuing vigilance and a deepening formation of consciences, since we should be actually appealing to the sense of freedom and responsibility of persons.

Prayer and sacrifices should go hand in hand with continuing study and consultation in pursuing this concern.