One in four Americans consider themselves "Catholic". We are an important economic force that can become a prophetic force for Catholic spiritual and moral teachings by supporting other Catholics. "Discover the untapped potential of Americas Catholics" the Simmons Market Research Bureau, Inc. (New York) advised advertisers after studying the Catholics buying habits. The detailed reader demographics it includedmedian age and income, gender, types of employment, personal products used, domestic and foreign travel habits, banking and investment practices, charitable contributions, insurancerevealed a national audience that was more worldly, educated and financially well-off than average.
Chris DeFilippis, in the September 1997 Catholic Journalist, the official publication of the Catholic Press Association, observed about the report that, "Most importantly, perhaps, it highlighted the intense involvement the nations 12 million Catholic press readers feel with the Catholic publications and the credibility they ascribe to the articles and advertisements within."
Therefore, starting January 1998 we will add a new section to our newsletter for Catholic-owned or operated businessesa Catholic Business Directory. The Catholic Business Directory will consist of yellow-page type listings for businesses in San Francisco, Marin and San Mateo Counties. Eligibility will be limited to Catholic-owned or operated businesses who advertise in their parish bulletin and maintain a Christian Business Ethic as a virtue of their business. The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines virtue as "a habitual and firm disposition to do the good." The Catholic Business Directory will appear each month in 20,000 copies of the San Francisco Charismatics and on our web site, sfSpirit.com. The Catholic Business Directory will be updated each month with additional pages being added as needed.
To set a standard for advertising, we have applied for membership in the Catholic Press Association of the United States and Canada. We adhere to provisions of the Fair Publishing Practices Code. Catholic teaching, truth, and good taste are the guiding principles in promotion and selling and in advertising we accept in this publication.
Someone said, "Money talks." Economic boycotts have been used successfully to change social and moral directions. The bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama and the boycott used against South Africas apartheid government are good examples. The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights has been instrumental in promoting and protecting the religious and civil rights of Catholics with its threats of economic actions against those who slander us.
Gandhi was a master at using economic actions to work for his ideals. George Devine, who teaches in the department of theology and religious studies, as well as the McLaren School of Business at the University of San Francisco, observes in his book, Responses to 101 Questions on Business Ethics, "I like to remember the situation in which Gandhi found his people in India early in the twentieth century: they sold indigo dye to British clothing manufacturers, who had stopped buying it and this resulted in the further impoverishment of the farmers in India. However, a great many Indians bought fabric and finished clothing from England since that was a ready source of supply. What Gandhi impressed upon them was the fact that when they did this they contributed to the misery of their own countrymen, if not themselves individually." Gandhi then led his people to spin their own fabric and make their own clothing for their common good. History shows us how boycotts have helped direct a common good. Would not the oppositesupporting those who support our moral valuesalso have the same positive effect?
What is our common good? The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that the common good comprises "the sum total of social conditions which allow" us to reach our fulfillment in Christ more fully and more easily. In keeping with the social nature of man, the good of each individual is necessarily related to the common good. Is it not in our best interests then to support those who support our moral values?
Many might argue that we do not need religion to be moral. That idea has given us political correctnessa wishy-washy moral vacuum of neither religion or morality. If Christians do not fill this developing vacuum of moral leadership, who will? There is no political power, country, or church that can provide the moral leadership as we Catholics can. In providing leadership, we must use every tool we have to counter-act evil. How we spend our money can be an effective tool. The motto, "In God We Trust", printed on our money is not meaningful unless it is also imbedded in our hearts.
While it helps us to defend and promote our common good by supporting those who support Gospel virtues, we do not "endorse" a particular organization, its product or service. The Archdiocesan Policy on Special Fund Raising Activities set forth in the Parish and School Financial Policy Manual makes it clear what we should not do. Common sense dictates what we should do. We should support those who share our values. In doing so, we support our common good.
Fr. Joe Landi is a Parochial Vicar at St. Cecilias Parish, San Francisco, the Archbishops Liaison to the Charismatic Renewal, and Board Chair of Sierra Point Credit Union, South San Francisco, which serves the members of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal of the Archdiocese of San Francisco, students, parents and employes of Catholic Schools in San Mateo County.
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