S.l.R. news service interviews CAPP’s new Chairman Mr. Domingo Sugranyes 18.12.2009

Read the interview: click here.


A little known treasure

The social doctrine of the Church for an economy to man’s measure

Promoting knowledge of the social teachings of the Church throughout the world.This in synthesis will be the mission of Domingo Sugranyes Bickel, the new Chairman of the Board of the Foundation “Centesimus Annus – Pro Pontifice”.Since 1969 a member of UNIAPAC (International Christian Union of Business Executives), Mr. Sugranyes Bickel serves on the Board of the “Fundaciòn Mapfre” and on the group’s controlling Committee; he also serves on the Board of “Società Cattolica di Assicurazione”, Verona and contributes to other initiatives such as “Foro Cristianismo y Sociedad” (Fundaciòn Pablo VI, Madrid) and “L’Observatoire de la Finance”, Geneva.

What are the strategic lines you intend to follow for the diffusion of the principles of the social doctrine of the Church, in particular those expounded in the encyclicals “Centesimus Annus” and “Caritas in Veritate”?

The Foundation “Centesimus Annus – Pro Pontifice” has approximately 500 members in ten countries; as mandated by its By-Laws, they are “qualified and socially motivated business and professional leaders”.We will strive to make CAPP membership a real quest for personal formation.We will continue the series of annual conferences, both international and national, that rigorously and scientifically analyze the relationship between the Social Doctrine of the Church and modern trends of thought and research on economic and social development.We will also ensure that members receive on a regular basis texts that will help them enter the spirit of the encyclicals.Members are also invited to follow a specialized course organized by the Foundation in cooperation with the Pontifical Lateran University.Beyond ideas and intentions, there are facts: the Foundation has in fact a double purpose; side by side to educational activities it endeavours to raise funds to help support the activity of the Apostolic See.The income from our modest endowment, destined for special needs of the Church, is donated every year to the Holy Father.And in response to a specific appeal of the Holy Father we are also trying to give financial support to the Pontifical Institute for Arabic and Islamist Studies (PISAI) to whose goals the Holy Father, in his address to CAPP members of June 13 last, attributes “great value for an ever more fecund interreligious dialogue”.

What does it mean to speak of the social doctrine of the Church in today’s world?

It means speaking of a respected but little known treasure.Contemporary economic theories show visible traces of the ideas which Paul VI had already vigorously expounded.I quote, for example, the “rediscovery” of the so called “human capital” as a key element of economic development.It means also pointing to fertile soil for joint action with other Christian confessions and interreligious dialogue.But first and foremost it means our own evangelization: the study of social doctrine helps us discover its theological and biblical roots, leads us on a path of deepened faith.The encyclical “Caritas in Veritate” is a magnificent example of this great wealth.It offers practical guidance in confronting today’s economic and social problems, guidance not recipes to be immediately followed, because they are our own responsibility.Besides, an attentive reader will discover in it a novel positive assessment of economic activity which, if “civilized” and “humanized”, promotes true development and also helps rebuild communal life and human solidarity.Perhaps in a few years time this prophetic proposal of Pope Benedict XVI will be better acknowledged.

The financial crisis has evidenced the shortcomings of our economic system: what can the social doctrine of the Church do to promote virtuous behavior in the economic sphere of action?

“Caritas in Veritate”’s approach is very realistic: it condemns, as many others have done, rash speculation and misuse of financial instruments.At the same time it states that in the present economic tissue there are both good and bad elements, as in all epochs and all activities.Overall condemnation is of no use; what one must do is support the more generous behaviors, wider and more long term visions, all the initiatives reflecting interaction of market law, good governance and political control as well as gratuitous and personal commitment.It is our task to spread and help understand this message, critical but at the same time optimistic on the possibilities of development and full of hope.