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Pope says Common Good demands business ethics

Pope John Paul II has issued an urgent call for sound ethical practices in the financial and commercial sectors are needed in order to safeguard the common good.

This is the conclusion of his message addressed to the participants in a conference organised by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and the International Union of Christian Business Executives. The theme of the conference was The Business Executive: Social Responsibility and Globalisation.

The Holy Father told the gathering of more than 80 business leaders that the conference was "taking place at a time when the financial and commercial sector is becoming increasingly aware of the need for sound ethical practices."

In the US, celebrity homemaker and businesswoman Martha Stewart brought corrupt business practices to the fore at the weekend when a jury found her guilty of lying to investigators about shady share deals. In Australia, high-profile businessmen Trevor Kennedy together with sharebroker Rene Rivkin and former politician Graham Richardson are undergoing investigation in what's being called the 'Swiss Banking Affair'.

The papal message stressed that ethics is what "ensures that business activity remains sensitive to its fundamentally human and social dimensions."

"Since the pursuit of profit is not the sole end of such activity, the Gospel challenges business men and women to embody respect both for the dignity and creativity of their employees and customers and the demands of the common good," he said.

The Holy Father listed the virtues that he believes should characterise the Christian businessperson: "diligence, industriousness, prudence in undertaking reasonable risks, reliability and fidelity in interpersonal relationships, and courage in carrying out decisions which are difficult and painful."

Common Good Demands Business Ethics, Says Pope (Zenit 5/3/04)

Because It's Martha Stewart (Christian Science Monitor 8/3/04)
Don't Let Globalization Relativize Values, Pope Urges (Zenit 5/3/04)
Guidelines for Applying "Pastores Gregis" Published (Zenit 5/3/04)
Pope urges business leaders to balance profits, good of workers (Catholic News Service 5/3/04)
New directory says bishop should promote rights, be model of holiness (Catholic News Service 5/3/04)
Pope says "forgiveness and reconciliation" needed in Africa, Holy Land, Iraq ( 7/3/04)
Business Executives Who Hope to Humanize Globalization (Zenit 5/3/04)
Edmund Rice Business Ethics Initiative
St James Ethics Centre
Australian Business Ethics Network

8 Mar 2004