An examination of two recent documents of Catholic Social Doctrine, Caritas in Veritate and Vocation of the Business Leader, is undertaken to uncover their assessment of our current cultural and moral crisis, of which our present economic distress is but one aspect, and their proposal for cultural renewal including a return to sound economic decision making. The intellectual commitments of molders of the modern mind such as Bacon, Descartes, and Hobbes severed morality at its metaphysical roots. Destroying the anthropological underpinnings of ethics catapults the contemporary world into a state of nihilism. In such a condition economic disorder is inevitable. The human person is crushed in a regime that searches for more relentlessly. The demand for metaphysical and moral reconstruction is met by Pope Benedict XVI with his insistence on receptivity to what is. Contemplation of an ultimate reality given to us takes us to the Person of Jesus Christ. The Christian faith is the context of authentic integral human development. Being made in the image of God gives every human person an inviolable dignity and makes every person subject to transcendent moral norms. A truth-filled love informs the conduct of enterprise. Goods that are truly goods and services that truly serve are produced or supplied. Promotional efforts are conducive to the pursuit of wisdom. People are given meaningful work that utilizes and develops their higher faculties and are let in on the financial success of the venture. The environment is respected as a home place ought to be. The Christian business leader can have a transformative effect on the business world through the power of grace.

About the Author

Jim Wishloff, an Associate Professor and award-winning teacher at the University of Lethbridge in Edmonton, Alberta has published in the Journal of Business Ethics, the Journal of Business Ethics Education, Teaching Business Ethics, and the Review of Business. His study of Peter Maurin’s ideas entitled “The Hard Truths of the Easy Essays” recently appeared in the Journal of Religion and Business Ethics.