Moral Values Help Businesses, Says Cardinal
Christian Executives Urged to See Ethics as Opportunity
LISBON, Portugal, MAY 29, 2006 (Zenit.org).- The president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace told Christian business leaders that moral values are their most reliable friends.
Cardinal Renato Martino also clarified that the Church is not an enemy of profit or business.
The Vatican official made these statements at the 22nd World Congress of the International Christian Union of Business Executives (UNIAPAC), held last Thursday through Saturday in Lisbon. Their meeting was entitled "Reinforce Business Leaders to Serve Humanity in the Modern World."
Addressing hundreds of Christian businesspeople, the president of the Vatican dicastery stressed that ethics does not bind business but is "an opportunity that qualifies its efficiency and objectives."
"Moral values, such as responsibility, solidarity, justice, care of the environment, respect for human rights, are not enemies of economic activity but its most reliable -- though demanding -- friends," Cardinal Martino said.
The cardinal invited Christian businessmen to consider "business and profit in an ethical-cultural perspective that is not qualified only by material aspects."
"Business and profit," he said, "refer to an anthropological context that transcends both and confers precise meaning on them: the centrality and totality of the person, that is, of the primacy of work over capital."
"That which makes a business is not only machines, material resources or structures but, above all, people," the Vatican official added. "It is personal qualities, moral virtues such as courage, fortitude, a talent for enterprise, reliability and prudence" that make a business.
In regard to the underdevelopment that afflicts the south of the world, Cardinal Martino explained that it stems from "the isolation of the poorest countries from the world market."
He insisted that "the solution of the problem of underdevelopment is not based on protectionism and narrow-mindedness."
But, on the contrary, "men must be helped to acquire knowledge, to enter into the circuit of interconnections, to develop their attitudes to appreciate capacities and resources in the best possible way."
Cardinal Martino added it is a mistake to conceive "economic aid to businesses in these countries only in terms of loans or the transfer of obsolete technologies and not as participation in risks" and "in the exportation of business 'know-how' to the south of the world."
"Civic virtues, the maintenance of family bonds, ties of reciprocity, the good administration of institutions and religious ties also produce economic effects of notable dimensions within and outside the business," the cardinal noted.
The social, ethical and even the religious dimension, are closely connected to the economy, business and profit, he added.
"In the social doctrine of the Church, the idea does not exist of an originally evil economy that must be bridled, as a fierce beast that must be tamed with the reins of ethics," Cardinal Martino, 73, continued.
"Economic costs are increasingly human costs," he added. "Human costs always have an economic repercussion. The more virtuous the economy, the more human does the context become. The more the context promotes the person, the more the economy finds wind for its sails."
The 35,000-member UNIAPAC brings together more than 26 associations of Christian businesspeople.