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Faith Matters

Christian Businessmen in Germany

More than just Praying Bosses

Faith Matters

Profit-oriented to the highest degree, selfish and power-conscious: this is what an entrepreneur has to be like in modern Germany in order to be successful. Really?
Do the global economy, unemployment, and the pressure of the stock exchange not still allow for human faces in relations between employers and staff?

The answer is yes, and maybe more than people think: these are the "other" bosses. The Catholic Businesspeople’s Federation (known by its German abbreviation BKU) alone includes 350 self-employed entrepreneurs and senior managers of large companies. Their aim is to implement Christian social doctrine - based on the four pillars of solidarity, subsidiarity, personality, and the common good - in everyday working life, to strengthen social cohesion, and finally not to lose sight of their faith even at work.

Three representatives of this maybe conservative, but certainly not old-fashioned philosophy appear in our report: Christiane Underberg, who runs the world-famous herbal liqueur company of the same name, Bernhard Vester, manufacturer of hydraulics equipment from Meerbusch near Düsseldorf, and Karl-Heinz Götz, who is in the service sector in southern Germany.

Of course these two men and one woman want their firms to make profits, but that’s only one side: they create jobs, even perhaps where they’re not absolutely necessary, and their work and leisure time is characterized by Christian and social commitment.

"I try not to form a clique with God," says Christiane Underberg, "but without support from above, I simply couldn’t manage."

07.10.2002 | 18:30 UTC

08.10.2002 | 00:30 UTC | 06:30 UTC | 12:30 UTC