Can you be Catholic and successful in business?



Hello. This is Henry Kutarna, The Catholic CEO. Welcome to “The Catholic CEO” where you access business tools for entrepreneurial success!

Each week, as a third generation family business leader, with children and grandchildren in the USA and Canada, I provide expert notes on real business issues, including family business challenges. 

Through broad experience as a CEO, board chair, entrepreneur, advisor, investor, and mentor, I help business owners who choose to follow Catholic principles achieve business success, stay Catholic, and prosper.

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You can be Catholic and a business success!


FEATURE ARTICLE: Can You Be Catholic and Successful In Business?

For the business owner who chooses to follow Catholic principles the question is often asked: “Can you actually be Catholic and a business success?”

A common belief is that you can’t be both Catholic and a business success. 

Some feel you must compromise your Catholic principles if you want to follow the usual rules of business success. Or, if you insist on following Catholic principles you have to compromise your business success.

I argue you can do both.

You can be Catholic and follow your Catholic principles in every aspect of your business and still build income, wealth, jobs, and serve your customers in exemplary fashion!

I also assert that you must follow Catholic principles in your business.


Well, the perennial teaching of the Catholic church has always been that to be a Catholic means you are all in – you are not in part way. I could quote you sections of the catechism or great sermons or scriptural passages – but I’m sure you know exactly what I mean. To be Catholic is to be 100% Catholic – in everything you do, in every place, at all times.

What then must you do to run a business according to Catholic principles?

  • Build a better product than everyone else. 
  • Provide a better service than anyone else.
  • Pay a just wage.
  • Provide clear instructions to your employees, contractors, and suppliers.
  • Keep your promises.
  • Seek input from your employees, contractors, suppliers, and customers.
  • Charge market prices – not more and not less (unless you need discount features or loss leaders).
  • Provide superior working conditions for yourself, your employees and contractors.
  • Do not use exploitive or inappropriate messaging, imaging, or methods.

I hope in that simple list you see that there is nothing there that goes against good standard business principles. Every good business in America and Canada could profess to do that and still expect to build wealth, create value, and produce good revenues and income. 

The Catholic nuance in all this is not merely to profess this commercial excellence but to do it with fairness under clear rules of engagement, and with a measure of compassion too. This compassion does not mean that you compromise on good manufacturing standards or treatment of people, or service to the customer. I certainly do not mean you must adopt lower standards for production, service, compensation, rewards, or warranties (promises). In fact the extra clarity and transparency (“…..let your yes be yes and your no be no…..”) will exhibit a form of charity – while at the same time creating a higher expectation of performance.

The whole point of running your business according to Catholic principles is that you seek excellence at every turn. You hire the best. You build the best. You do the best. You exude fairness and justice at every turn. You price fairly. You pay fairly. You follow employment and tax law. You keep a high standard in everything. But you communicate it clearly. You create room for feedback and input from all your stakeholders. And you fulfill your dream of great revenue, great income, great cost control, and, in the end, that wealth package you need for your pension or your bequests.

Join me regularly for further insights into how we can remain fully 100% Catholic and operate great competitive and superior businesses!

This is Henry Kutarna, The Catholic CEO. Thank you for joining me today.

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