WASHINGTON, D.C. – A new program at The Catholic University of America’s (CUA) School of Business that seeks to integrate Catholic social doctrine and business practices will focus on exploring the “compatibility of capitalism and Catholicism,” CUA board member and businessman Timothy Busch wrote in a recent article for The Wall Street Journal.
Last week, CUA announced a $3 million grant from the Busch Family Foundation, The Charles Koch Foundation, and business school board members Sean Fieler, Frank Hanna and Michael Millette to found the new research program for which the University will hire four additional faculty members.
“Free markets have liberated more people from poverty than any other force in history,” Busch observed in his piece. “But they must also be buttressed by moral principles, such as those taught in the Catholic Church.”
“[I]t is important to point out that the principles behind this initiative and the principled entrepreneurship program are consistent with Catholic teaching,” he wrote. Busch pointed in the piece to the teachings of Pope Leo XIII’s 1891 encyclical Rerum Novarum and noted its promotion of a just economic system that includes “the protection of private property and human freedom, a concern for the common good, and, most important, a deep respect for human dignity and a ‘preferential option’ for the poor.”
“Capitalism,” Busch argued, “meets these criteria better than any other economic system.” Additionally, he continued in his article, “it has lifted more than a billion people out of extreme poverty, according to the Economist,” as well as “creating a global two-billion-person middle class over the past 300 years.”
However, “a moral culture” is paramount to its success. “When business is unmoored from a concern for the common good, capitalism can slide into cronyism and corruption… It is such perversions of a free-market economy that do not fit Catholic teaching,” he wrote in the piece.
Busch also argued that future business leaders must be aware of the “cronyism and corporate welfare” which can lead to “corruption and collectivism.” Ultimately, he continued, it “subordinates the individual to the state, perverting or ignoring the Catholic understanding of the common good, human dignity and personal freedom.”
Busch went on to reference Pope St. John Paul II’s 1991 encyclical Centesium Annus, which supports “an economic system which recognizes the fundamental and positive role of business, the market, [and] private property.”
“CUA—as the only pontifical university of the Catholic Church in America and the university that teaches a large number of our country’s bishops, priests and religious—can now help communicate it to the rest of American Catholicism,” Busch concluded.
MORE NEWS: How to prepare for face-to-face classes
The Catholic University of America is recommended in The Newman Guide for its strong Catholic identity. The Cardinal Newman Society recently released the 2015 edition of the Guide along with an innovative new “Recruit Me” program that lets students sign up so that the recommended colleges can compete for them.
Published with permission