Thursday, March 27, 2014

Book Launch at the Catholic Information Center

On Wednesday, March 26, Dean Andrew Abela and Dr. Joseph Cappizzi led a discussion for the book launch of A Catechism for Business.  Over one hundred guests came to the Catholic Information Center in Washington, D.C for the discussion and reception following.

Dean Abela and Dr. Capizzi explained how they found that Catholic social doctrine on business has developed over many years as the Church has responded to specific issues.  They found that business leaders who were faced with ethical questions in business did not have a guide directing them to the Church’s teachings on these matters.  A Catechism for Business serves as that guide, drawing together Church teachings on business, organized by topic and question.  

Dr. Joseph Capizzi (left) and Dr. Andrew Abela (right).
As the evening progressed, Dean Abela and Dr. Capizzi took questions about the book from the audience and discussed some of the tough questions business leaders frequently face.  For example, A Catechism for Business includes a section about the Church’s teaching on just wage and the responsibility of the business owner to his employees.  The difficulty is that sometimes market wages are lower than what could be considered a just wage.  How then can the Catholic business leader treat his employees fairly while also staying competitive within his industry?  

Abela and Capizzi signing books at the launch.
The answer to this and similar questions is seldom easy.  As Dean Abela reminded the audience, the book is not intended to address easy questions, it deals with tough ethical questions business leaders are likely to face.  While the Church seldom provides a clear yes or no answer on these questions, it does provide the principles that a business leader must then apply to the particular situation.  The final decision is then up to the reader to prayerfully, and sometimes imaginatively, find a solution to the problem according to Catholic social doctrine and balancing the needs of his or her customers, employees and business.  A Catechism for Business provides a starting point for the business leader who is seeking to better understand how Catholic social doctrine should be applied to their challenging everyday decisions.

You are invited to visit the website in the upcoming week to watch a video of the book discussion or listen to a podcast of the event.

To order A Catechism for Business, please visit the online storefront.  

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Hobby Lobby Case and A Catechism for Business

Authors Andrew Abela and Joseph Capizzi speak to The Washington Post and National Review Online about corporations and religious freedom, when Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood cases are heard by the Supreme Court today.

To read the full stories, please click the links above.

A Catechism for Business will launch tomorrow in Washington, DC. To learn more about the book and to meet the editors, all are welcome to attend the book launch event at 
6:00pm on Wednesday, March 26, 2014. The event will be held at the Catholic Information Center in Washington, D.C.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Business Leadership - A Call to Engage with the World

Catholic social doctrine emphasizes the role each individual plays in contributing directly to the common good.  Pope Francis also addressed this in his recent apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, where the Holy Father addressed both institutional as well as individual failings to serve the poor.  

Certainly, the question of how to help the poor is not an issue which is being ignored by secular society.  It is often contentiously debated, pitting policy makers and commentators against each other.  However, through all the debate surrounding the best policies to improve the lives of the poorest among us, it is often easy to forget the calling that Catholics have to advocate for and live according to Catholic social doctrine. 

The following question, taken from A Catechism for Businessserves as a reminder that we are all called to support Catholic social doctrine and promote the common good. 

Who bears responsibility for fulfilling the principles of Catholic social teaching?

“The direct duty to work for a just ordering of society… is proper to the lay faithful.  As citizens of the State, they are called to take part in public life in a personal capacity.  So they cannot relinquish their participation ‘in the many different economic, social, legislative, administrative and cultural areas, which are intended to promote organically and institutionally the common good.’” –Benedict XVI, Deus caritas est, 29 (quoting John Paul II, Christifideles laici, 42)

“The first act of the Christian business leader, as of all Christians, is to receive; more specifically, to receive what God has done for him or her.  This act of receptivity, particularly for business leaders, can be particularly difficult.  As a group, business leaders tend to be more active than receptive, especially now in a globalized economy, under the effects of sophisticated communications technologies and the financialization of business.  Yet without receptivity in their lives, business leaders can be tempted by the quasi-Nietzschean “superman” complex.  The temptation for some is to regard themselves as determining and creating their own principles, not as receiving them.  Business leaders may only see themselves as creative, innovative, active, and constructive, but if they neglect the dimension of receiving, they distort their place within the world and overestimate their own achievements and work.” – Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Vocation of the Business Leader, 66

“It is not the role of the Pastors of the Church to intervene directly in the political structuring and organization of social life.  This task is part of the vocation of the lay faithful, acting on their own initiative with their fellow citizens.  Social action can assume various concrete forms.  It should always have the common good in view and be in conformity with the message of the Gospel and the teaching of the Church.  It is the role of the laity ‘to animate temporal realities with Christian commitment, by which they show that they are witnesses and agents of peace and justice.’”  –Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2442 (586) (quoting John Paul II, Sollicitudo rei socialis, 47)


Friday, March 14, 2014

Join Us: March 26th Lecture and Reception at the CIC

Join us for a lecture and reception celebrating the newly released work, A Catechism for Business. This book launch event will feature remarks by editors Andrew Abela and Joseph CapizziA Catechism for Business collects the Church’s teaching on a wide range of topics, including advertising, hiring and firing, investing, outsourcing, wages, working conditions, and unions.  For more information visit

Wednesday, March 26
1501 K Street NW, Suite 175 
Washington, DC 20005


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Businessmen and theologians are like distant cousins, and often they’re just not on speaking terms. If anything can bring them into conversation, it’s this superb catechism, which achieves the minor miracle of being both erudite and readable.
-John L. Allen Jr, Boston Globe 

This is a fantastic repository! It should be mandatory reading for any Catholic in business, and recommended reading for any non-Catholic interested in what the Church really teaches.
-Patrick Lencioni, author of the Advantage and The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

Thursday, March 6, 2014

What does Catholic social doctrine say about the minimum wage?

Since the beginning of this year, there has been increased public debate regarding the minimum wage question.  Now, President Obama has signed an executive order regarding the minimum wage for federal contract workers, and the U.S. Senate has been debating legislation to make broader changes to federal minimum wage laws. 

While the question over just wage legislation rages for a time in the political world, Catholic business leaders must face this question on a daily basis in their own businesses.  What factors should be considered when determining a worker’s wage?  How does one balance the needs of the worker with the needs and constraints of the business?  

The answers to such questions are seldom easy and require a prudential judgment on the part of the business owner.  However, Catholic business leaders are not left without direction.  The social doctrine of the Catholic Church provides guidance to help business leaders make the morally right decision. 

The following are just a few excerpts about living wages from the question on just compensation in A Catechism for Business:

What factors should an employer consider to calculate just compensation for an employee?

“In determining fair pay both the needs and the contributions of each person must be taken into account.” –Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2434 (584)

“Just remuneration for the work of an adult who is responsible for a family means remuneration which will suffice for establishing and properly maintaining a family and for providing security for its future.” –John Paul II, Laborem exercens, 19

“In determining wages, therefore, justice demands that account be taken not only of the needs of the individual workers and their families, but also of the financial state of the business concern for which they work.” –John XXIII, Mater et magistra, 33

A Catechism for Business also includes similar questions addressed by Catholic social doctrine, such as:
·          If an employee who is not forced to take a particular job agrees to a specific wage, does that make the wage just?
·         Whose responsibility is it to see that a just wage is paid?

To learn more about A Catechism for Business, please visit the book’s webpage at