Catholic Social Teaching and the Org Chart

When we think about living our faith, we certainly think of loving our neighbor in the context of our family, friends, and church community. We give charitably to worthy causes, or maybe volunteer in some fashion. Or perhaps we extend our understanding of living our faith to the political realm as it informs our discussions of how best to structure society.
But what of the corporate structure? Does Catholic social teaching have anything to say about how to best structure a company? The answer to this must be a definite yes.

If our faith is to influence all parts of our life we need to look to the teaching of our faith when creating a business model. The notion of subsidiarity which is found in Catholic social teaching is one such idea that can be used to drive how a business should be organized.

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The Priority of Life

Vanity of vanities, says Qoheleth, vanity of vanities! All things are vanity!… All rivers go to the sea… To the place where they go… the rivers keep on going.

I remember as a youth how this affected me so much, this idea of the rivers, always going “to the place where they go”, all the water… we always end up there. (A river in Idaho, the Salmon, the “River of No Return”, I remember thinking how all rivers are “rivers of no return”…)  It was an enigma to me as a young boy and a young man. Fascinating ….but terrifying.

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Christian Decision Making: Four Rules of Discernment

We all have times in our life, whether in our professional life or our family life, when we need to make decisions: every day small decisions but also major life changing ones. Choosing one path by necessity closes others.  In our business life, we gather data do a cost-benefit analysis, conference with key stakeholders and hopefully make a good decision. In our personal life the process may be less formal but is essentially the same.  

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Gratitude for Competitors How To Be Happy In Your Work part 5

Finally, we come to the most challenging type of work-neighbor of all—our competitors—the ones we’re allowed to despise. They threaten our livelihoods, take market share that belongs to us, force us to lower prices or raise quality—in other words, they create all kinds of havoc in what would otherwise be a smooth-running business. If there is one group of people we would eradicate off the face of the earth if we could, it would be our competitors.

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Gratitude for Colleagues How To Be Happy In Your Work part 4

And now let us turn to a slightly more challenging type of work-neighbor, the people we work with and for—our colleagues.

No doubt about it, we’ve all made some of the best friends of our lives at work and met people we wouldn’t wish on our worst enemy, but like them or not, these people are absolutely essential to our organizations and to our success as individuals. We’ve all had the experience of trying to cope when a critical person is out sick or a function shuts down—especially when it’s payroll or IT. Just as when we break our little toe, we suddenly realize how much we needed all five of them to walk smoothly after all.

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The Joy of the Gospel; The Joy of Work How To Be Happy In Your Work part 2

We’ve all read why scores of time in John 15.

I am the vine, you are the branches. Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, … I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.” [Jn 15:5-11]

Complete joy is what God wants for us—in our work lives just as He does everywhere else. Joy is not only possible, but will be ‘automatic,’ as St. Thomas Aquinas puts it: “Joy is a response to having been ‘united’ with what we love.” To be united with Him whom we love with all our beings, we must simply keep His commandments and do what He tells us to do in the very next verse:

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A Tale of Two Postman How To Be Happy In Your Work Part 1

For all of us some of the time and for some of us all of the time, work is an unhappy part of our lives. Maybe you’re feeling mild disappointment in your job, or worse, total disillusionment. Bad things happen to all of us at work, and when they do, they puncture our idealism, sap our energy, and can make just getting up to go to work on yet another Monday feel like the hardest thing we’ve ever done. And when we’re feeling like that, it’s just as hard to figure out what to do next—whether to quit or stick it out, whether to switch companies or careers, whether to hope for better or get used to the truth that, “If it was supposed to be fun, they wouldn’t call it work.”

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Christmas: The Call

The following is taken from a meditation given by Fr. Bruce Wren L.C. at Catholic Professionals of Illinois  Advent Retreat 2015 (Part 4)

If Christ has come to us, then he also calls us (or “attracts us” is perhaps a better way to say it).  Faced with the absolute impossibility in which mortality enchains us, faced with this boredom, “the ugliest, nastiest, and most foul” than any other vice, that Baudelaire speaks of in the post-Christian modern man, God incarnate in Jesus Christ presents another possibility which becomes an urgent appeal:  this call is expressed in different ways:

Anyone who wants to follow me, let him deny himself.

 If you love me, feed my sheep.

There is no greater love than to give one’s life for those who you love…

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Christmas: The Possibility

The following is taken from a meditation given by Fr. Bruce Wren L.C. at Catholic Professionals of Illinois  Advent Retreat 2015 (Part 3)

What is really amazing finally is Christmas, what it means if we take it seriously!

The myth that people attempt to create around Christmas is the existence of a magically charitable world, in which we exchange gifts of a mythical cornucopia which spread happiness with a smile, and the deer who steal (interesting that Santa Claus comes from Saint Nicholas, a Bishop of Asia minor), and without sacrifice or virtue.

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