18/09/2012 07:07 BST | Updated 12/11/2012 10:26 GMT

Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols Tells Business Leaders: Don't Leave Your Morals At Home

Ruthless businessmen and women are living divided lives, leaving the high moral values they hold at home with their families behind when they go to work, the Archbishop of Westminster has cautioned.

Rev Vincent Nichols is to tell a major financial ethics conference that many people in the business world leave their morals at home when they kiss their children goodbye after breakfast and head for the office.

When businesses see themselves as set apart in some way, free to create their own value system divided from the rest of life, then they are liable to do most harm.

The Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols

"Then there appears, for instance, an unhealthy focus on power or reward, or an expectation of overwork to the cost of family or spiritual life," the Archbishop is to say.

"This fosters a sense of living an unhealthily 'divided life', in which we leave the better part of our values and ideals at home when we go to work."

Nichols will suggest that businessmen should learn from the medal-winning ways of Olympians Mo Farah and Jessica Ennis - being competitive, wanting to win, but doing so with honour.

The Archbishop is chairing a conference for around 100 financiers from some of the biggest FTSE 100 companies, looking at what can be learnt from the economic crisis.

Business leaders could learn from Olympians, the Archbishop will say

But in an opinion piece published on the Daily Telegraph's website, Nichols also called business a "noble calling" which has fuelled "the progress of human civilisation".

A spokesman for the Archbishop told the Telegraph: “He was invited by the business leaders to hold the ring and act as a contributor.

“It is not that the Archbishop is coming with the answers, what he is saying is that Catholic social teaching has looked at these issues and may have something to offer.”