Are Catholic Men Morally Obligated to Be Entrepreneurs? Part 2

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In the last opinion piece covering this topic I was both shocked and enlightened.  First I was shocked at the reaction of a lot of Catholics.  It was if I had asked if Catholic men were morally obligated to kill their dog.

Although the original article received a lot of Facebook likes, the most vocal were those that hated it.  Much of the Facebook comments that I got were of the following Catholic variety:

  1. People that obviously didn’t read the article because they asked how dare I suggest that all men leave their job when the article was about starting a side-business to mitigate risk and be a better provider.
  2. Folks telling me not to tell them how to live their lives.  I was just asking a question.
  3. Catholics who accused me of being a right-wing nut job hi-jacking the faith.
  4. Catholics that assume that I want people to follow my business model (not sure what business model that is since I have 3 – 4 different small businesses going).

Meh.

While shocking, it was really enlightening at the same time. It was enlightening because it was the first time I got to see just how prevalent the secular culture runs through the Catholic culture. It was also interesting to see how many Catholic men shirk when it comes to giving up luxury for the sake of providing more for their family and neighbor.

The Current State of the American Male

Anyone that knows me knows that I am not a fan of opinion – so when I give mine it’s usually not without facts to back it up in some way or another.  So when I say that it is my opinion that the current state of the American male is in shambles, there’s a reason for it.

According to the Bureau of Labor Time Use Survey for 2013, the average American spends 5.9 hours a day in leisure, and the majority of that leisure time is in front of the television.  Here’s what they say:

On an average day, nearly everyone age 15 and over (95 percent) engaged in some sort of leisure activity, such as watching TV, socializing, or exercising. Of those who engaged in leisure activities, men spent more time in these activities (5.9 hours) than did women (5.2 hours).

Watching TV was the leisure activity that occupied the most time (2.8 hours per day), accounting for more than half of leisure time, on average, for those age 15 and over. Socializing, such as visiting with friends or attending or hosting social events, was the next most common leisure activity, accounting for 43 minutes per day.

(They include exercise and socializing as leisure but personally I wouldn’t count that in some instances since they are pretty vital to a balanced life).

Now, fellas, let’s think about this…  Are we ask Catholic men morally obligated to spend time in leisure (especially watching television) or to avoid idleness?

Let’s see:

Ecclesiastes 10:18 – Through sloth the roof sinks in, and through indolence the house leaks.

Proverbs 13:4 – The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.

Proverbs 21:25-26 – The desire of the sluggard kills him, for his hands refuse to labor. All day long he craves and craves, but the righteous gives and does not hold back.

Of course, I am not saying that there is no time for leisure at all.  That’s ridiculous to think that we cannot ever stop working.  But there is something wrong when we spend 20+ hours a week in front of the television don’t you think?

Starting a Side-Business Makes You holy

I think that one of the other big turn offs for practicing Catholic men is that they feel as though doing work on the side has nothing to do with their holiness. Well, nothing could be further from the truth.

In the 1853 book, “A Practical Treatise on Business,” Edwin Freedly eloquently shows that entrepreneurial business makes you holy when he writes (emphasis mine):

In the Latin it [Business] denotes self denial of ease nego otium, negotium. I deny myself all pleasure and self indulgence for the sake of business.

A man who desires to make a wise disposition of his time should so regulate it as to give each of these great sources of happiness, religion, knowledge, and business its proportionate share of his attention and not allow his mind to become absorbed in any one of them to the exclusion of the others. It is a union that is eminently practicable and the result will be happiness. The idea that an energetic devotion to business in its time and place is incompatible with a high degree of moral culture or intellectual ability is entirely erroneous. On the contrary a man must possess great strength of moral principle and an enlarged intellect to carry on an extended business with a reasonable hope of success. Business is in truth a test of virtue, a fiery furnace to principle.

A side-business forces you to not be idle.  As an old Spanish proverb says, “The devil tempts the busy man, but the idle man positively tempts the devil.”  It is through your side-business that you are able to train your moral habits and deny the devil entry into your thoughts.  You have better things to do.

What does St. John Paul the Great say about work? Here’s the introduction to his encyclical Laborem Exercens (emphasis mine):

THROUGH WORK man must earn his daily bread and contribute to the continual advance of science and technology and, above all, to elevating unceasingly the cultural and moral level of the society within which he lives in community with those who belong to the same family. And work means any activity by man, whether manual or intellectual, whatever its nature or circumstances; it means any human activity that can and must be recognized as work, in the midst of all the many activities of which man is capable and to which he is predisposed by his very nature, by virtue of humanity itself. Man is made to be in the visible universe an image and likeness of God himself, and he is placed in it in order to subdue the earth. From the beginning therefore he is called to work.

Let me give you an example of something that suffers because men refuse to work more than the norm…

Let’s face it, there is a reason why Catholic media sucks (I’m sorry, it does.  Yes there are few exceptions but they are exceptions. But if you are happy with 2 – 3 Catholic media outlets on cable TV going up against hundreds of other networks then we have vastly different visions). It sucks having to watch mid-20th century saint movies or poorly acted new movies when I want to see something Catholic.  It sucks when we rely on non-Catholics to remake a Catholic classic fantasy story and butcher it beyond recognition (The Hobbit Series).

The reason Catholic media is so poor is that there are no Catholic entrepreneurs out there that network together and edify each other so that Catholic media is funded and and grown. (Yes, I realize there are Catholic entrepreneurs out there.  But yet again,Catholic entrepreneurs – whether entrepreneurs on the side or not – are the exception and not the rule).

Side-Business as Risk Mitigation

As Catholic men we are called to protect and provide for our families and for our neighbors.  Now, please explain to me why it would be better spending 20+ hours a week watching television and 30+ hours a week in total leisure than to spend that time building up something that could potentially help you to avoid the negative effects of a lay off; or better yet, blessing others through your side-business by hiring those around you?

20+ hours a week building something, anything, that provides value to you or others seems way more reasonable to me than to spend that time in idleness – pridefully assuming that you will always have a job or can find another one in your area when you get laid off.

Just last week at Mass I saw an old friend that asked me to pray for her because she’s been unemployed for a while and just had an interview that week.  I hope she got the job, but it seems like every few weeks I hear about friends and family getting let go from their jobs only to not be able to get another or they have to uproot their family and move across the country.

At least with a profitable side-business they could extend the time that they have to search.

Conclusion

I’m not going to shut up.

I’m tired of hearing about Catholics losing their jobs with no idea what to do.  I’m tired of Catholic men complaining about our culture yet refuse to start a business, however small, that could grow into something that changes the culture.  I’m tired of Catholic men shirking their responsibilities to work because they have a full-time job (just like every secular man) and can’t live without their leisure time after work.

Start something, anything, with your extra time.

 

Poor is he who works with a negligent hand, But the hand of the diligent makes rich. – See more at: http://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Idleness-Leads-To#sthash.qETwoWDG.dpuf
Poor is he who works with a negligent hand, But the hand of the diligent makes rich. – See more at: http://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Idleness-Leads-To#sthash.qETwoWDG.dpuf
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2 Comments

  • Jason Milliner

    Reply Reply August 24, 2014

    I Truthfully admire your zeal and your impeccable work ethic and your loathing of the vice of avarice!! I agree with you that Catholic dads spend thier leisure time on things of this world!! However sir, true Catholic dads spend most thier time in front of My Beloved in the Most Blessed Sacrament and in prayer for the reparations of the sins that wound the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus My Beloved and the Most Immaculate Heart of Our Queen Mother Mary!! If by your side business you live a very comfortable life and are esteemed of mere creatures you are not being conformed to the image of My Beloved! Therefore your trust lies not in Him, but in Money. You may certainly get to Heaven via the horrendous sufferings of purgatory, of which I have experienced for an extremely brief period of time. If you want to be a true Catholic dad, go sell all of your worldly excess give it too the poor and trust in Him!! Spend the extra time before My Beloved in The Most Blessed Sacrament praying for Reparations to console The Father’s Most Holy Name, TheSSpirit’s Most Perfect Love, The Son’s Most Sacred Heart and The Queen Mother’s Most Immaculate Heart. Pray for the conversion of poor sinners and for all the Holy Souls in Purgatory!!! Remember any act of Charity omitted is a sin!! and if you give out of your surplus it is not as meritorious to God!!! Trust in Him spend time with Him devote most of your leisure time to Him and strive to be perfect as your Heavenly Father is Perfect!!! sincerely Jason Bradley Milliner extraordinary mystic and Victim soul of The Most High and His Queen Mother Mary Most Holy!!!

  • Jake Ashby

    Reply Reply August 25, 2014

    Thank you for posting this “opinion” piece. I am on the threshold of launching my own business. It’s been nearly a year of preparation and 12 years of ethical hiking. Systemic over regulation and the public pursuit of dependence continues to drive my counter culture decision. I can identify with a lot of your points. Perhaps your detractors can as well, but need to tend to their hurt feelings first.

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