Monday, July 02, 2012

Closing Statement of Socially Responsible Investment Debate

The real burden of the debate from my perspective is the question: Are the crises of today crises of the morality of specific investments, or rather are they crises about God, and therefore, about the working person as image of God. Man experiences being the image of God, and therefore becomes conscious of God, by making the gift of himself in ordinary work. Benedict XVI remarked in 2006 “that the unresolved issue of Marxism lives on: the crumbling of man’s original uncertainties about God, himself and the universe. The decline of a moral conscience grounded in absolute values is still our problem today” (understood: in the West).

In the case of the economy, are we attempting to inject a patina of morality into a moribund economic structure built principally on the Unencumbered Self and profit, or are we being called to discover a new attitude toward work and mechanisms of ownership as in Mike Winn’s Hollister Corp.? Even if we get the morality of individual investments right (for a time), will we have changed that “unresolved issue” of God – the experience and consciousness of God - that broods over us? This is the real challenge that we should be debating

                As a son of the spirit of St. Josemaria Escriva, I must repeat his Magna Charta call to find God precisely in work: “There is something holy, something divine hidden in the most ordinary situations, and it is up to each one of you to discover it.” The “ordinary situations” he refers to is secular work. The “something” is the Person of Christ that one can become in the exercise of that work if done with the right intention and generosity. This “becoming” and “discovering” is the real moral exercise of economic life.  The successor to St. Josemaria, Alvaro del Portillo, remarked that “This doctrine” –becoming Christ through work –“ is so transcendental that the Church has wanted to proclaim it solemnly in the last Council and to make it into” – and here he quotes Pope Paul VI [1]“‘the most characteristic feature and the ultimate purpose of all the conciliar teaching.’”[2] In a word, the entire Vatican Council stands or falls on the morality of heeding the universal call to holiness through work.

 “The board is set, the pieces are now in motion, at last we come to it - the great battle of our age:” J RR Tolkien:

[1] Paul VI, Motu proprio ‘Sanctitas clarior,’ 19 March 1969, AAS 61 (1969), p. 150.
[2] Alvaro del Portillo, Letter, March 19, 1992, #3.

No comments: