DAILY CATHOLIC    TUESDAY     October 5, 1999     vol. 10, no. 189

from a CATHOLIC perspective

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To Members of 'Legatus' Businessmen in Rome

        ROME, OCT 4, 1999 (ZENIT).- Today, in a rooftop terrace restaurant, with a view overlooking St. Peter's Square and the newly restored façade of St. Peter's Basilica, Card. Christoph Schönborn took a break from the marathon sessions of the European Synod to lunch with a group of U.S. businessmen and speak to them about ethics in the workplace.

        Some 45 members of the organization of Catholic Businessmen, "Legatus," listened attentively as Cardinal Schönborn, Archbishop of Vienna, Austria, told the American entrepreneurs that "profit is not only not immoral, but is an ethical duty" for responsible Christian businessmen in order to create new sources of wealth, employment and social stability. Nevertheless, "The primordial value of labor stems from man himself, its author and its beneficiary" (Catechism N.2427). The main points concerning the Social Doctrine of the Church, solidarity and justice in work and economic activity can be found in Part 3, Article 7 of the Universal Catechism, which is a comment on the seventh commandment (cf. N. 2401 - 2449).

        During his brief talk, Cardinal Schönborn, who in the past served as General Secretary of the Commission for the formulation of the Universal Catechism, recalled the peculiar genesis of this enormous undertaking.

        It all began during a session of the 1985 Synod when Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston told the Synod fathers very matter-of-factly: "Kids in Boston, Leningrad, and Santiago, Chile, all wear the same blue jeans and listen to the same music, so why can't we have one universal catechism?" The idea was warmly accepted by the bishops, who formally requested the Holy Father to form a commission to begin work on the new document. And the rest was history.

        At first, some feared a negative reaction toward a unified text of doctrine in an age of diversity and individual beliefs, but those worries were dispersed as soon as the original French edition was released. To date, the Catechism has been translated into 44 languages and has sold nearly 9 million copies.

        Cardinal Schönborn elaborated on three elements present in all forms of human societies: authority, common good, participation and responsibility, and applied them to the world of business as seen through the eyes of the Catechism.

        The Legatus members will continue in Rome until Oct. 7, when they will return back to their businesses in the U.S. Some will stay on one more day in order to attend the ordination of deacons from the North American College to be held on the afternoon of the 7th at the Altar of the Chair in St. Peter's Basilica. The ordination will be presided by Card. Joseph Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation of the Faith. ZE99100421

Articles provided through Catholic World News and Church News at Noticias Eclesiales and International Dossiers, Daily Dispatches and Features at ZENIT International News Agency. CWN, NE and ZENIT are not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provide this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

October 5, 1999       volume 10, no. 189


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