What if we had a resource to use in business, drawn from relevant Catholic social teaching, to help us navigate the difficult moral and ethical challenges we face each day in the workplace? Look no further than the excellent A Catechism for Business, written by Andrew Abela and Joseph Capizzi.
Many leaders who describe themselves as having faith of some kind are often willing to leave their faith at the door of their workplaces. Often, this stems from a misconception about what "faith at work" really is — or it could stem from a lack of knowledge of how to actually apply our faith at work.
The Catholic Church has a wonderful (yet often-difficult-to-find) trove of information and teaching to share in the areas of business and economics to help busy executives navigate difficult moral questions.
A Catechism for Business brings to light and explains what the Church has to offer.
A Catechism for Business presents the teachings of the Catholic Church as they relate to more than 100 specific and challenging moral questions that have been asked by business leaders. The authors have assembled the relevant quotations from recent Catholic social teaching as responses to these questions. Questions and answers are grouped under major topics such as marketing, investment and finance.
Where the Church has offered definitive answers, A Catechism for Business provides them. When the Church has not, the book presents guidelines for reflection and insights into what we should consider doing in given situations.
The book’s easy-to-use approach invites quick reference for tough questions and serves as a basis for reflection and deeper study in the rich tradition of Catholic social doctrine.
I had an opportunity to interview Abela, who I connected with a few years ago because of our shared interest in integrating faith and work. Abela is the dean of the School of Business and Economics and associate professor of marketing at The Catholic University of America in Washington. Abela also provides consulting and training in internal communications to several major corporations, including JPMorgan Chase, Microsoft Corp., HJ Heinz and the executive office of the president of the United States. He and his wife, Kathleen, live in Great Falls, Va., with their six children.
If you are a Catholic leader looking to navigate the swamp of modern-day business, pick up a copy of A Catechism for Business and take possibly your first steps towards a more integrated Catholic life, as my conversation with Abela illustrates:
What is the purpose of your new book? What are your hopes for the reader?
The purpose of
A Catechism for Business is to provide easy access, in one small volume, for business people to the rich teachings of the Catholic Church about business.
What was the catalyst for you doing this book project?
The realization that while the Church has a wide range of insightful, wise and nuanced teachings about advertising, unions, prices, wages, worker safety and so on, most Catholics are almost completely unaware of them.
Are Catholic business people subject to challenges in the secular world that others don’t face? Will this book address those challenges?
Yes and no. Yes, our challenge is to follow the teachings of the Church in a world that can be hostile to such teachings. But no, in the sense that the more we follow Church teachings, the more trustworthy, reliable and honorable we become, all of which tend to make us more successful in business.
How can a Catholic business person utilize your work to more effectively integrate faith with work?
The book provides 114 tough ethical questions that one can face in business and then presents word-for-word quotations from Catholic teaching that help respond to those questions.
Businessman and author
Randy Hain is online at RandyHain.com.
His latest book is
Journey to Heaven: A Road Map for Catholic Men.