Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Core of "Caritas in Veritate:" The Sanctification of Work

“A secret, an open secret: these world crises are crises of saints.God wants a handful of men ‘of his own’ in every human activity. And then… ‘pax Christi in regno Christi – the peace of Christ in the kingdom of Christ.’[1]

Fr. Fessio: “‘The logic of the market and logic of the state,’ i.e., free economic exchange with political oversight and restraint, are not enough to secure human flourishing. There must also be ‘solidarity in relations between citizens, participation and adherence, actions of gratuitousness’ or, as he says in summary, ‘increasing openness, in a world context, to forms of economic activity marked by quotas of gratuitousness and communion. Pope Benedict insists on a ‘third economic factor’ in addition to the market and the state: gratuitousness.”

* * * * * * * * * * * *

John Paul II in Centesimus Annus spoke of three (3) “subjects” and two (2) “logics:”

The subjects are the market, the state and the working person (“civil society”).

The logics are 1st order: Objects, and 2nd order: subjects (persons).

The market is a logic of objects. Roughly, we can say that the market is a contractual exchange, in a dynamic of supply and demand, available to mathematic symbolization and deterministic in nature as an abstraction. It is presupposed that the market is morally neutral working deterministically as supply and functions with a logic of objects.

And again:Economic life undoubtedly requires contracts, in order to regulate relations of exchange between goods of equivalent value. But it also needs just laws and forms of redistribution governed by politics, and what is more, it needs works redolent of the spirit of gift. The economy in the global era seems to privilege the former logic, that of contractual exchange, but directly or indirectly it also demonstrates its need for the other two: political logic, and the logic of the unconditional gift.”[3]

The Second Logic is the Logic of Subjects, the Logic of the Unconditional Gift: “The exclusively binary model of market-plus-State is corrosive of society, while economic forms based on solidarity, which find their natural home in civil society without being restricted to it, build up society. The market of gratuitousness does not exist, and attitudes of gratuitousness cannot be established by law. Yet both the market and politics need individuals who are open to reciprocal gift.”[4]

[1] Caritas in Veritate” #37.

[2] Ibid #36.

[3] Ibid 37.

[4] Ibid 39.

Real development takes place in a living, organic and internal way. The human person cannot be said to develop merely by the extrinsic addition of “things” or social extrinsics. The human person develops by an interior dynamic of self-determination that is revealed as well as experiential. It is a development of the whole being as person. It is ontological and free by an autonomous act of self determination always preceded by an act of affirmative love, but it Grace, be it human. Wojtyla is dry here, but it is a philosophic rendering of the magisterial statement of Christian anthropology. It is a revolutionary “redefining” of the human person as “Caritas in Veritate” called for: “a metaphysical interpretation of the ‘humanum’ in which relationality is an essential element” (54).

OntologicalThe developmentof the economy demands the ontological development of the person. This takes place as image of the Divine Persons in the exercise of freedom

Existential Christian Anthropology

The Anthropology of Gaudium et Spes #24: (John Paul II): “If we wish to accentuate fully the truth concerning the human person brought out by Gaudium et Spes [#24], we must once again look to the personal structure of self-determination.”[7] Wojtyla explains: “I believe… that, with the aid of the comprehensive experience of the human being and human action [joy, sadness, good, evil, guilt, peace], we can more fully apprehend the dynamism of the will and in this way come closer to the complete view handed down by St. Thomas. It is precisely the reality of self-determination that brings this to light. Self-determination reveals that what takes place in an act of will is not just an active directing of the subject toward a value. Something more takes place as well: when I am directed by an act of will toward a particular value, I myself not only determine this directing, but through it I simultaneously determine myself as well. The concept of self-determination involves more than just the concept of efficacy: I am not only the efficient cause of my acts, but through them I am also in some sense the ‘creator of myself.’ Action accompanies becoming; moreover, action is organically linked to become. Self-determination, therefore, and not just the efficacy of the personal self, explains the reality of moral values: it explains the reality that by by my actions I become ‘good’ or ‘bad,’ and that then I am also ‘good’ or ‘bad’ as a human being…

“Human beings not only determine their own activity but also determine themselves in terms of a most essential quality. Self-determination thus corresponds to the becoming of a human being as a human being. Through self-determination, the human being becomes increasingly more of a ‘someone’ in the ethical sense, although in the ontological sense the human being is a ‘someone’ from the very beginning.”[8]

Holiness/Development is to Achieved Precisely in the Exercise of Work: Vocation: “In reality, institutions by themselves are not enough, because integral human development is primarily a vocation, and therefore it involves a free assumption of responsibility in solidarity on the part of everyone. Moreover, such development requires a transcendent vision of the person, it needs God: without him, development is either denied, or entrusted exclusively to man, who falls into the trap of thinking he can bring about his own salvation, and ends up promoting a dehumanized form of development. Only through an encounter with God are we able to see in the other something more than just another creature[17], to recognize the divine image in the other, thus truly coming to discover him or her and to mature in a love that “becomes concern and care for the other.”[9]

Integral Human Development:

Newest Weigel Critique:[10] The real pique of Weigel is the universal call to holiness in the world of work and the mysterious (non-rationalistic) of the terms of development as relationality as “being more.”

Weigel accuses “Caritas in Veritate” of 1) promoting a “hermeneutics of rupture,” and 2) being “obscure.” The “hermeneutic of rupture” was confronted by Benedict XVI on December 22, 2005.[11] It is a theme developed by the Bologna School concerning Vatican II as a rupture from the Catholic Tradition. What is at stake here is that the continuity is the Revelation that is the Person of Jesus Christ that has been known as the individual “Jesus of Nazareth” is now being proposed to be known as the relational “Jesus the Christ.” This is not rupture, but completion. Benedict is precisely promoting the “hermeneutic of continuity” by proposing the two logics with which He must be understood. And since Jesus Christ is the prototype of the human person, we must pass through this “new trajectory of thinking” whereby we can become “more”[12] by becoming – like Him – “gift” and “gratuitousness.”[13] For example, the only way to know (“intellegere” = legere ab intus) Christ is by prayer since His very Being is prayer as relation to the Father. In a footnote below, John Paul II explained the two levels of experience involved and stated that “The personalistic type of understanding the human being is not the antinomy of the cosmological type but its complement…. We cannot complete this picture [of the human being] through reduction alone; we also cannot remain within the framework of the irreducible alone for then we would be unable to get beyond the pure self). The one must be cognitively supplemented with the other.”[14]

This notion of the person as gift and gratuitousness, and not the individual acting out the market in self-interest is considered “obscure.” And it is “obscure” in the order of conceptual thought, but not for reason.[15] However, it involves another experiential level of knowing, “consciousness,”[16] whereby the self experiences itself as relation and gift. Benedict is insisting on this “broadening of reason” in order to live in the real world existentially after the demise of the ideologies of Communism and Liberal Capitalism. He is offering not a third way between objects, but a new way of the subject who finds self by sincere gift of self” (Gaudium et Spes #24).

Response: Benedict’s whole thrust in #53 is to paraphrase Gaudium et Spes #24. He asks for “a new trajectory of thinking” that will work in this different dimension of the working person, and that it embraces the personalist realities of “subsidiarity” (capital and freedom: both redefined on a higher level) and “solidarity” (the social dimension).

Major Texts: “He is not called Father with reference to himself but only in relation to the Son; seen by himself he is simply God.’ Here the decisive point comes beautifully to light. ‘Father’ is purely a concept of relationship. Only in being for the other is he Father; in his own being in himself he is simply God. Person is the pure relation of being related, nothing else. Relationship is not something extra added to the person, as it is with us; it only exists at all as relatedness.

“Expressed in the imagery of Christian tradition, this means that the first Person does not beget the Son as if the act of begetting were subsequent to the finished Person; it is the act of begetting, of giving oneself, of streaming forth. It is identical with the act of self-giving. Only as this act is it person… In this idea of relatedness in word and love, independent of the concept of substance and not to be classified among the ‘accidents,’ Christian thought discovered the kernel of the concept of person, which describes something other and infinitely more than the mere idea of the ‘individual.’ Let us listen once again to St. Augustine: ‘In God there are no accidents, only substance and relation.’ Therein lies concealed a revolution in man’s view of the world: the sole dominion of thinking in terms of substance is ended; relation is discovered as an equally valid primordial mode of reality. It becomes possible to surmount what we call today ‘objectifying thought;’ a new plane of being comes into view. It is probably true to say that the task imposed on philosophy as a result of these facts is far from being completed – so much does modern thought depend on the possibilities thus disclosed, without which it would be inconceivable”[17] (Underline mine).

The Two “Logics” in Work:

Doing Something (Object); Becoming “Somebody”(Subject: Christ)

The Dynamic of Human Work is Christology

“Work” in Caritas in Veritate:

“The continuing hegemony of the binary model of market-plus-State has accustomed us to think only in terms of the private business leader of a capitalistic bent on the one hand, and the State director on the other. In reality, business has to be understood in an articulated way. There are a number of reasons, of a meta-economic kind, for saying this. Business activity has a human significance, prior to its professional one. It is present in all work, understood as a personal action, an “actus personae”, which is why every worker should have the chance to make his contribution knowing that in some way “he is working ‘for himself'”]. With good reason, Paul VI taught that “everyone who works is a creator”[18]

“Man has to subdue the earth and dominate it, because as a the ‘image of God’ he is a person, that is to say, a subjective being capable of acting in a planned and rational way, capable of deciding about himself, and with a tendency to self-realization.

“As a person, man is therefore the subject of work. As a person he works, he performs various actions belonging to the work process: independently of their objective content, these actions must all serve to realize his humanity, to fulfill the calling to be a person that is his by reason of his very humanity…

“And so this ‘dominion’ spoken of in the biblical text being meditated upon here refers not only to the objective dimension of work but at the same time introduces us to an understanding of its subjective dimension. Understood as a process whereby man and the human race subdue the earth, work corresponds to this basic biblical concept only when throughout the process man manifests himself and confirms himself as the one who dominates.’ This dominion, in a certain sense, refers to the subjective dimension even more than to the objective one: this dimension conditions the very ethical nature of work. In fact there is no doubt that human work has an ethical value of it is own, which clearly and directly remains linked to the fact that the one who carries it out is a person, a conscious and free subject, that is to say, a subject that decides about himself.”[19]

Subsidiarity and Solidarity are Resonating Dimensions of the Working Person

This is the approximation of living out the Trinitarian reality in the global community. “The principle of subsidiarity must remain closely linked to the principle of solidarity and vice versa, since the former without the latter gives way to social privatism, while the latter without the former gives way to paternalist social assistance that is demeaning to those in need. This general rule must also be taken broadly into consideration when addressing issues concerning international development aid. Such aid, whatever the donors' intentions, can sometimes lock people into a state of dependence and even foster situations of localized oppression and exploitation in the receiving country.”[20]

Big Picture Persons are images of the divine Persons Who are pure relations of self-gift. The human person is created image. Therefore, the human person must – as a result of being loved – master self, in order to get possession of self, so as to be able to make the gift of self and achieve the reality of who they are images. Gaudium et Spes #24 describes the resonation that takes place between self activation and self gift (“find self by gift of self”). They are called “subsidiarity” and “solidarity.” In a state of ideological abstraction they have taken the form of liberal capitalism (the separation of capital from labor) and socialism (the denial of the autonomy of the worker). They are both determinisms. Communism is evident that one knows he has lost freedom when he is run over by a tank. Liberal Capitalism is less evident.

Ratzinger wrote in 1985: “Although this position admits the freedom of individual businessmen, and to that extent can be called liberal, it is in fact deterministic in its core. It presupposes that the free play of market forces can operate in one direction only, given the constitution of man and the world, namely, toward the self-regulation of supply and demand, and toward economic efficiency and progress.” He continued: “This determinism, in which man is completely controlled by the binding laws of the market while believing he acts in freedom from them, includes yet another and perhaps even more astounding presupposition, namely, that the natural laws of the market are in essence good… and necessarily work for the good whatever may be true of the morality of individuals. These two presuppositions are not entirely false, as the successes of the market economy illustrate. But neither are they universally applicable and correct…”

The existential realism that the Church proposes is the working person as “finding self” by the “sincere gift of self.”

Giftedness is not a giveaway of objects, but an attitude of giving self to another by means of creative service.

Example: “Every time I think about the future of Hollister and the growth that’s sure to come, I’m drawn to a wonderful moment out of the past. And in recalling the story, you will see the inspiration behind my vision today.

“Soon after I became President, I was having breakfast with Mr. and Mrs. John Schneider. Mrs. Schneider was concerned about the future of Hollister employees, that growth and large size might lead to impersonal treatment of people. So she gave me a book titled “Small is Beautiful,” which eloquently expresses the value of individuals and the need for organization of humane size.

Mr. Schneider and I discussed this situation with her at some length, explaining that some continuous growth was necessary for the well being of the Company. But we assured her that the philosophy of management caring about its employees was fixed in Mr. Schneider’s principles of doing business as stated in Mr. Schneider’s Trust.

In 1977, I wrote in the Hollister Highlights:

“All employees at Hollister should and can enjoy what they’re doing. The working environment should be an enjoyable one, with a feeling and sense of belonging.”

In the process of developing my Vision this past year, it became clear to me that this statement doesn’t go far enough. That the concern Mrs. Schneider raised needed to be addressed.

My Vision is based on the assumption that we have ‘lived’ our Mission Statement and have achieved our strategic business objectives. After we’ve done this, Hollister will be larger and more complex than it is today. But, as explained to Mrs. Schneider, our growth will be a result of being successful and not an end in itself.

Hollister of the future will be in the healthcare industry developing, manufacturing and selling medical products. But that is not our business. Our business is to serve customers, both inside and outside. Developing, manufacturing and selling medical products are the activities we engage in in order to serve.

We do not exist to make a profit. This is not an end, but a means by which we can continue as a strong, independently owned company.

Our business purpose is to serve our customers and the community as a whole. We’ll serve them with products that are innovative and more efficacious than those offered by our competitors. Quality is delivery of increasingly higher levels of service to our customers.

Hollister will also be more personal as a working environment because all associates will be serving one another in a way that creates a sense of community similar to the sense of family that existed when Mr. Schneider was running a smaller company.

Companies use all kinds of phrases like these to refer to their employees. ‘Our employees are our most important asset,’ ‘Our people make the difference,’ and ‘It’s not chairs, tables, or machines that give me problems, it’s people.’

These references view people the wrong way. We can’t look at people as assets of units of production. Such a view fails to see, as Mrs. Schneider always has, the unique individual that has a dignity and an intrinsic value, independent of the work they do.

My vision now should make t clear to all that work is not an occupation, but a vocation… not a necessary chore for making a living, but an opportunity for personal development and fulfillment.

As I see it, Hollister associates are person in relationships of service to one another. They’re all untied in a common cause, each contributes his or her indispensable work, well done, so that the individual efforts add up to a collective world-class result.

Hollister is thus a community of persons who in various ways are endeavoring to satisfy their basic needs and who form a particular group at the service of society.

At Stake

The Universal Call to Holiness in the World:

“By reason of their special vocation it belongs to the laity to seek the kingdom of God by engaging in temporal affairs and directing them according to God’s will They live in the world, that is, they are engaged in each and every work and business of the earth and in the ordinary circumatances of social and family life which, as it were constitute their very existence. There they are called by God that, being led by the spirit to the Gospel, they mat contribute to the sanctification of the world, as from within like leaven, by fulfilling their own particular duties….It pertains to them in a special way so to illuminate and order all temporal things…”[21]

“You must realize now, more clearly than ever, that God is calling you to serve him in and from the ordinary, secular, and civil activities of human life. He waits for us everyday, in the laboratory, in the operating theater, in the army barracks, in the university chair, in the factory, in the workshop, in the fields, in the home, and in all the immense panorama of work. Understand this well: there is something holy, something divine hidden in the most ordinary situations, and it is up to each one of you to discover it.”[22]

[1] The Way #301.

[2] Caritas in Veritate” #37.

[3] Ibid #36.

[4] Ibid 37.

[5] Ibid 39.

[6] Ibid 53.

[7] Karol Wojtyla, “The Personal Structure of Self-Determination” Person and Community, Lang (1993) 194.

[8] Ibid. 191.

[9] C in V. #11.

[10] National Review, “Charity in Truth, The Vatican, the United States, and the issues, after the week that was: The Encyclical,” July 13, 2009.

[11] Google “Benedict XVI December 22, 2005” or my blog today.

[12] “The vocation to progress [development] drives us to ‘do more, know more and have more in order to be more.’ But herein lies the problem: what does it mean ‘ to be more?’… “In promoting development, the Christian, the Christian faith does not rely on privilege or positions of power, nor even on the merits of Christians… but only on Christ to whom every authentic vocation to integral human development must be directed. The Gospel is fundamental for development, because…Christ…fully reveals humanity to itself’ (GS #22)

[13] “Caritas in Veritate” #53.

[14] K. Wojtyla, “Subjectivity and the Irreducible in the Human Being,” Person and Community, Lang (1993) 214.

[15] Brennan: “I shall argue that the tendency to identify self-interest with rationality is mistaken – and that it represents a serious oversimplification of, for example, Adam Smith’s view of human nature. It was, after all, Smith’s Wealth of Nations, published in 1776, that first set modern-day economists down this road with its famous statement that ‘it is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.’ What most economists fail to remember, however, is that Smith was Professor not of Economics (there was no such thing in those days), but of Moral Philosophy at the University of Glasgow. And that Smith did not take this position lightly is evident from his other great word, The Theory of Moral Sentiments, in which he says that ‘to restrain our selfish, and to indulge our benevolent affections, constitutes the perfection of human nature;” Michael J. Brennan, “Incentives, Rationality, and Society,” University of California at Los Angeles, Morgan Stanley, Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, Vol. 7, No. 2, Summer 1994, 31.

[16] “In order to interpret the human being in the context of lived experience, the aspect of consciousness must be introduced into the analysis of human existence. The human being is then given to us not merely as a being defined according to species, but as a concrete self [“I”], a self-experiencing subject. If we pause here, this being discloses the structures that determine it as a concrete self. The disclosure of these structures constituting the human self need in no way signify a break with reduction and the species definition of the human being – rather , it signifies the kind of methodological operation that may be described as pausing at the irreducible. We should pause in the process of reduction, which leads us in the direction of understanding the human being in the world (a cosmological type of understanding), in order to understand the human being inwardly. This latter type of understanding may be called personalistic;” Karol Wojtyla, “Subjectivity and the Irreducible in the Human Being,” Person and Community Lang (1993) 213.

[17] Introduction to Christianity, Ignatius (1990) 131-132.

[18] Caritas in Veritate #41.

[19] John Paul II, “Laborem Exercens,” #6.

[20] Caritas in Veritate #58.

[21] Vatican II, Lumen Gentium #31

[22] St. Josemaria Escriva, “Passionately Loving the World.”

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