Business by Nature Isn't Bad, Says Cardinal Martino

Citing Social Doctrine, He Urges an End to Old Prejudices

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VATICAN CITY, MARCH 7, 2004 ( According to the Church’s social doctrine, business executives have a key role in the common good and shouldn’t be viewed as enemies, says a Vatican official.

With this message, Cardinal Renato Martino closed the international Conference of Christian Business Executives, held on Friday and Saturday, with the theme «The Business Executive: Social Responsibility and Globalization.»

The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and the International Union of Christian Business Executives organized the event.

The Church has «a positive view of the market and profits,» but it condemns «the idolatry of the market and profit as anti-religious, inhuman and socially untenable,» said Cardinal Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

The cardinal told the 80 or so representatives of the business world, «To invest in ethics is one of the best ways to affirm the rationality of the economy and business.»

«Amorality, or worse still, immorality in business does not make businesses greater but smaller and more fragile, as the scandals and failures that are before everyone’s eyes demonstrate,» he said.

«Moral values, such as social responsibility, solidarity, justice, a sense of the common good, care of the environment, respect for human rights, the appreciation of human capital are not enemies of economic and business activity, but their most faithful allies, though certainly very demanding,» Cardinal Martino contended.

The president of the pontifical council said the conference demonstrated how «the spirit of enterprise, the function of a business and of the business executive must be given greater consideration because of their role in favor of the common good and social development.»

«The attitude to the business world, which is still very widespread and is the offspring of old ideological prejudices, regarding it as an enemy that must be looked upon with suspicion, must be overcome,» Cardinal Martino said.

According to the Church’ social doctrine, the function of the business executive and of an enterprise is «to be a reflection of the creative action of God himself,» the cardinal said.

«I hope that our conference served to attest to the end of a long period of misunderstandings and ambiguities between the Churches and the world of business,» he added.

Cardinal Martino announced that the «Compendium of the Social Doctrine» of the Church, being prepared by the Council for Justice and Peace, will be published in May.

In June, the same council will publish a report on poverty in the age of globalization.

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