Venture Fidelis

"Every economic decision has a moral consequence.”  -Pope Benedict XVI

 

SanPietroTuEsPetrus-SteO153.jpg

What is Venture Fidelis?

Venture Fidelis is an initiative by the Center for Evangelical Catholicism that exists to provide American business entities the opportunity to possess and exhibit a clearly defined, explicitly stated, and legally expressed Catholic identity. 

 What does Venture Fidelis offer?

1.  Informs business choices in the light of Catholic theology

2.  Provides a means to a legally articulated Catholic identity.

3. Allows for networking with other businesses, either as an operator, employee, or consumer, for whom a Catholic identity is a priority.

Why Now

religious freedom.png

An increasingly secularized society is making it more and more difficult for Catholics to live a fully integrated life where their faith shapes all of their choices, even within the realm of business. Recent court battles over Catholic moral issues of employer-funded contraception, sterilization, and abortion serve as examples of how a secularizing culture inhibits business leaders seeking to live vocations in accord with their Christian principles. Current trends in U.S. culture heighten the difficulty for Catholics in business to harmonize their faith with their labor. Anti-Catholic business trends further compounds the difficulty for Catholic entrepreneurs to create new companies that successfully achieve job creation, wealth creation and work ethic for society.  One way that Catholics are working to counter this is Venture Fidelis. 

Models to Follow

Catholic School.png

Three specific industries currently provide examples of this concept in action – higher education, healthcare and social services. As society secularized, the difference between these Catholic institutions and their secular counterparts becomes more stark. Each stands out within an industry. Clear Catholic identity, then, provides a clearly defined alternative in an otherwise monochrome markets.

Catholic Education

Georgetown_University_-27.jpg

 Going all the way back to the founding of Georgetown University in 1789, the Catholic Church has played a key role in the history of American education. Since the same year as the writing of the U.S. Constitution there have existed easily identifiable and distinct institutions of Catholic education in the United States, co-existing alongside secular  schools, colleges, and universities. Despite this long history, however, Catholic Schools have begun to see growing importance of clarifying their legal status as Catholic entities, even as even as various government entities have begun mounting legal pressures to secularize.

Catholic Healthcare

Mother_Elizabeth_(detail).jpg

The fact that a major segment of US hospitals has a distinct Catholic identity today is undeniable.The incompatibility between their Catholic identity and certain practices common in secular healthcare (contraception, abortion) has been a source of increasing national discussion and legal policy.  Certain hospitals proactively protect their Catholic identity, for example having mandatory language in their legally binding agreements stating that they are Catholic organizations and as such, no provision of the agreement can be construed so as to require them to take an action or refrain from the same that is inconsistent with the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Healthcare Services or the teachings and precepts of the Roman Catholic Church. 

Catholic Social Services

131117-F-QV958-038.jpg

Perhaps, most alarmingly off all various catholic social services entities, such as adoption clinics have faced the stark choice of violating catholic teaching or permanently close their doors, as they have in many diocese around the country. Ultimately, religious liberty means more than freedom of worship; it includes our ability to freely exercise that religion by contributing to the common good of all Americans without having to compromise our faith. Unfortunately, protecting this freedom to act on our duty as Catholics, means we need to take thoughtful and deliberate steps to safeguard these rights

Each of these examples occurs in industries having centuries long histories of founding and operation of distinctive Catholic institutions and entities.  However, despite the fact that it may have parallel application if properly executed, this dynamic has not translated into the general business sector — until now. 

In a way which parallels the meaningfully identifiable Catholic entities in education, healthcare and social services (binding themselves to act only within Catholic teachings and precepts), US businesses can now voluntarily operate within prescribed Catholic boundaries written into their corporate legal structure, making themselves a Venture Fidelis business (a faithful venture).