Archbishop Chaput Gives Businessmen Key to Success

Also Looks at Catholic Political Vocation and How to Live It

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TORONTO, FEB. 24, 2009 ( The key to success is personal integrity and living virtuously with a focus on giving rather than taking, affirmed the archbishop of Denver in an address to business leaders.

Archbishop Charles Chaput affirmed this today in Toronto in an address to some 100 leaders in the business community.

The talk, «Character and Circumstance,» was sponsored by the Archdiocese of Toronto, the Salt and Light Catholic Television Network, Regis College and the Meritus, an archdiocesan group for Catholic business leaders.

The prelate recognized that «a free market can be a powerful force for good in the world,» but warned that «economic power can become a kind of addiction.»

He added, «The need for a profit and today’s specialization of skills and interests narrows our horizon — not just at work, but in the way we connect with the world and perceive others.»

The market exists for everyone, he affirmed, but «we never lose responsibility for the people around us.»

Archbishop Chaput said: «Catholic or not, any sensible businessperson can understand the logic of the Golden Rule. We reap what we sow […].

«If we act ethically, we create an ethical world — even if its borders only reach as far as our family, business colleagues and friends.»

God is love, he emphasized, and thus «there’s no way to be a ‘successful’ person — in business, in politics, in the Church or anywhere else — by wanting and taking more than we’re willing to give.»

He added: «The habit of taking steals from everybody — beginning with ourselves and our own integrity.»

Business virtue

The prelate asked his audience, «Where does God belong in the marketplace?»

He answered: «He belongs in the hearts and the actions of the people who make the market succeed. And that means you.»

The archbishop encouraged his listeners to pay attention to the important things in life even if they seem «little.»

He continued: «Devotion to family sounds like a simple thing, and it is. Gratitude, honesty, humility, faithfulness — these all are simple things. They’re also very difficult.  

«It’s easy to talk about fixing the problems of society with big national programs and policies, because we can always blame somebody else when they don’t work.

«Personal change, personal moral integrity, personal fidelity to people and principles — that’s much harder work, because we’re stuck with the clay of who we are, and there’s nobody to blame but ourselves if we fail.»

However, Archbishop Chaput said, by persisting in these little things, «we accomplish a big thing; we affect others.»

He concluded by exhorting his audience, «Lead well, not only with what you say, but with what you do — and in your example, that’s where the renewal of your nation’s public life will begin.»

Political vocation

During his trip to Toronto, Archbishop Chaput also gave an open public address, which took place Monday on the theme of his recent book «Rendering Unto Caesar: The Catholic Political Vocation.»

He spoke to the crowd of over 700 about the need for Catholics to be involved in the political life of their nation, as one part of salvation history. He affirmed: «Only God is God, and the state is subordinate and accountable to God for its treatment of human persons, all of whom were created by God.

«Our job as believers is to figure out what things belong to ‘Caesar’ [the state], and what things belong to God — and then put those things in right order in our own lives, and in our relations with others.»

The prelate asserted that «the truest respect we can show to civil authority is the witness of our Catholic faith and our moral convictions, without excuses or apologies.»

He continued: «It doesn’t matter what we claim to believe if we’re unwilling to act on our beliefs.

«What we say about our Catholic faith is the easy part. What we do with it shapes who we really are.»

He acknowledged that we serve our country best by serving God first. «But,» he added, «just as God so loved the world that he sent his only Son, so the glory and irony of the Christian life is this: The more faithfully we love God, the more truly we serve the world.»

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On ZENIT’s Web page:

Address to businessmen:

Address delivered at the University of Toronto:

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