Huffington Post: Why the Church Needs Business
... Beyond the mess that has been the Vatican bank, the Catholic Church can learn a lot from business. This may seem counterintuitive, but the same church that has (rightly) spoken out so forcefully on the excesses and the limitations of capitalism desperately needs some capitalistic skills.
How is it that so many seem to have so little expertise in what so many people take for granted? Not long after the financial crisis in 2008, one priest confidently told me, "Capitalism is dead." I asked him if he could still go to the corner and buy a hotdog. Yes, he said. "That's capitalism," I said. "It's not dead." A few days later another priest with a Ph.D. asked me, as he read about the financial crisis, "What's a bond?"
Whence the lack of business knowledge among otherwise smart and talented (and highly educated) men and women? There are two simple reasons:
First, many cardinals, archbishops, bishops, priests, sisters and brothers now in their 60s and 70s (that is, those running things in the church) often entered their seminaries or religious orders right out of college, even high school. Thus, many (not all, but many) did not have the important experience of having to earn a paycheck, balance a checkbook, manage employees, read a balance sheet, invest in the stock market, and so on.
The second reason is more basic. Once in the seminary or religious order, business education was not a part of their training. This is an immense lacuna in the training or priests and men and women in religious orders. ...
In How the Church Fails Businesspeople (and what can be done about), John Knapp reports that one of the biggest obstacles the church has with influencing businesspeople to think more ethically and theologically about their own lives is the business practices of the church. A congregation's or denomination's sloppiness with finances, belief that fundamentally realities about business and economics can just magically be suspended, and, too often, defensiveness (if not hostility) toward sound business practices, causes businesspeople to tune out what the church has to say about material matters. The church holds no credibility. It is good to see that Pope Francis is recognizing the need for the gifted businesspeople to aid in the mission of the church.