Pope John Paul defined poverty as 'a lack of access to networks of productivity and exchange.' He went on to argue that it was a moral obligation to fight poverty with our most effective strategies; to do less was a 'moral failure'. Each day, the Church ministers to a population degraded by poverty that remains unsolved by governments, NGOs, and multilaterals. The Church possesses unparalleled spiritual, business, and capital resources. Yet despite these realities, it too has failed to effectively address poverty. 'Catholic Enterprise Solutions to Poverty: Freedom, Competition and Personal Responsibility' (CESP) will examine the values and attitudes at play in the global Catholic community on themes such as work, the marketplace, and spiritual perspectives on economics. The team will develop a 'mental models map,' based on rigorous survey research, to inform productive debates within the Church. From this data, new tools for effective communication and intervention will be developed and disseminated to influential Catholics at the Vatican and among the ordained and laity. The effort will integrate key players beyond the Church, including the media and academy, to ensure a broad impact. The time is right for the Catholic community to challenge its approach to development. Internal support has never been stronger; external needs have never been more pressing. Church leaders speak out in support of enterprise and free markets. CESP will lay the groundwork to enable the Church to build John Paul's global networks of productivity & exchange, through a laser focus on the only effective long-term strategy to fight poverty: enterprise. This $250k + $250k, 1 year donor-leveraged pilot, consisting of a comprehensive baseline survey of current attitudes regarding faith, business and economics, sets the foundation for a larger, donor-matched, 3 year project to effect change with enduring impact in the Church's approach to entrepreneurship and economic development.
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