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Catholic CEO

How Church teachings can help us build better organizations





Living a Unity of Life (#10)

10. Chief among these obstacles at a personal level is a divided life, or what Vatican II described as “the split between the faith which many profess and their daily lives”. The Second Vatican Council saw this split as “one of the more serious errors of our age”.  Dividing the demands of one’s faith from one’s work in business is a fundamental error that contributes to much of the damage done by businesses in our world today, including overwork to the detriment of family or spiritual life, an unhealthy attachment to power to the detriment of one’s own good, and the abuse of economic power in order to make even greater economic gains. In this regard, the Church remains mindful of the words of Jesus himself: “No one can be the slave of two masters. He will either hate the first and love the second or be attached to the first and despise the second. You cannot love both God and money” (Mt 6:24). Business leaders who do not see themselves serving others and God in their working lives will fill the void of purpose with a less worthy substitute. The divided life is not unified or integrated: it is fundamentally disordered, and thus fails to live up to God’s call.


Commentary:  We object to the person who says he is morally opposed to abortion, but doesn’t want to push his views on others. That person lives a divided life.

But as this point demonstrates, many of us live a divided life between what we profess morally, and how we behave professionally: we give lip service to God, but really serve mammon. 

We need to learn to live a unity of life, where we offer everything we do to God, putting him at the summit of our lives.  Then we will ask him how we should operate our business and how we should integrate it with the key principles of Catholic social doctrine: dignity of the human person, solidarity, subsidiarity, and the universal destinations of goods.  What we do will then be united to what we believe, and that coherence will give us the peace that we’re seeking.

Serving God means serving our neighbor.  God points us to those who need it the most.  We cannot say we’re serving God if we are ignoring the poorest and most excluded among us.  We have a positive duty to share what we have with those desperate for the scraps that fall from our table.  And if that individual lacks a name and a face, he’s a theory, not a person.