Friday, April 13, 2012

Vatican Gives New Examination of Conscience For Business People ( I Post It ) - John Allen Column

I always look forward to the John Allen Column. He has a great one dealing with the Vatican's  “Vocation of the Business Leader” document / reflection. See A Vatican document to make Socrates proud. He makes a lot of good points about this document and how it's different.( the document is linked at his post)

He also talks what great good this document and it's approach could have at the Catholic University and indeed local Catholic level.

He says in part:

“Vocation of the Business Leader” may thus be that rarest of Vatican texts: Something that isn’t just dissected by vaticanisti and other denizens of the church’s chattering classes, but actually used out in the field. One can imagine, for instance, retreats for business leaders organized around the document, culminating in the examination of conscience it invites. One also hopes it becomes a cornerstone of business education, especially in Catholic venues. There are some 1,800 church-affiliated colleges and universities worldwide, roughly 800 of which have business programs, and this text would be a compelling addition to their curricula.

To return to where we began, the real novelty of “Vocation of the Business Leader” is that it manages to bring Catholic social teaching down to earth without actually floating a single concrete policy proposal. Instead, it asks hard questions and trusts people of intelligence and good will to figure out the right answers.

Socrates would be proud.

Read the whole thing. Again though WILL THIS DOCUMENT make it down to the local level. For instance will I see this great resource used in my Diocese of Shreveport. Will average Catholics be aware of it. Well I hope so.

He notes at the very end of the document there is sort of an  examination of conscience for Business leaders. I have gone ahead and copied that list below.


Do I see work as a gift from God?

Is my work as a “co-creator” truly a participation in God’s original creative act?

Do I promote a culture of life through my work?

Have I been living a divided life, separating Gospel principles from my work?

Am I receiving the sacraments regularly and with attention to how they support and inform my business practices?

Am I reading the Scriptures and praying with the will to avoid the risk of a divided life?

Am I sharing my spiritual path with other Christian business practitioners (my peers)?

Am I seeking to nourish my business life by learning more about the Church’s social teaching?

Do I believe that taking seriously the dignity of the person in my business decision-making will promote integral human development while making my company more efficient


Do I see the responsibilities of my company as extending to all the participants who contribute to its life, not simply to the interests of the owners?

Am I creating wealth, or am I engaging in rent-seeking behaviour?

Am I engaging in anti-competitive practices?

Is my company making every reasonable effort to take responsibility for externalities and unintended consequences of its activities (such as environmental damage or other negative effects on suppliers,
local communities and even competitors)?

Do I recognise the importance of strong and lively “indirect employers” to ensure the right levels of labour protection and community dialogue?

Am I sensitive to the fact that if corporate decisions are not deeply grounded in the dignity of the human person, they will be prone to instrumentalist and utilitarian constructs which fail to promote integral human development within business?

Do I regularly assess the degree to which my company provides products or services which address genuine human needs and which foster responsible consumption?


Am I assuming the risk of lower level decisions to assure that his autonomy is genuine?

Are jobs and responsibilities in my company designed to draw upon the full talents and skills of those doing
the jobs?

Have employees been selected and trained to be able to meet fully their responsibilities?

Have these responsibilities and their scope been clearly defined?

Am I making sure that the company provides safe working conditions, living wages, training, and the opportunity for employees to organise themselves?

Have I embedded a set of comprehensively defined values and integrated that into my performance measurement process? Am I honest with my employees about their performance?

In all countries where my company is engaged, is it honouring the dignity of those indirectly employed and contributing to the development of the communities hosting these operations? (Do I follow the same standard of morality in all geographic locations?)

Do I place the dignity of all workers above profit margins?


As a business leader, am I seeking ways to deliver fair returns to providers of capital, fair wages to employees,fair prices to customers and suppliers, and fair taxes to local communities?

Does my company honour all its fiduciary obligations to providers of capital and to local communities with regular and truthful financial reporting?

In anticipation of economic difficulties, is my company taking care that employees remain employable through appropriate training and variety in their work experiences?

When economic difficulties demand layoffs, is my company giving adequate notifications, employee transition assistance, and severance pay?

Does my company make every effort to reduce or eliminate waste in its operations, and in general to honour its responsibility for the natural environment?

Do I provide employees appropriate autonomy at each level? In other words, am I organising human resources mindful of the words, am I organising human resources mindful of the subsidiarity principle in my company management system?

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