Business ethicist Chris MacDonald is opting to skip the Pope’s new encylcical despite its high profile attempts to discuss the ethics of how business is done. The reason?
my main reason not to bother with the Pope’s new essay — with all due respect to my friends among the several hundred million Catholics in the world — is that he’s writing from a particularly isolated sub-branch of one moral tradition, and the Pope’s particular train of thought is one that doesn’t seem interested in engaging with the broader conversation over the appropriate role of business in the world. Want proof? Check out the footnotes at the end of “Caritas in Veritate”. 159 footnotes, and not a single one refers to any modern scholar in business ethics or any cognate discipline. Not even to any of the many fine Catholic scholars in that field. The only footnote that isn’t to either the Pope himself, or to some past Pope, is a trivial footnote to the ancient, Pre-Socratic Greek philosopher Heraclitus. Why would I, or anyone else not especially fascinated by Catholic teachings, bother to pay attention?