Tag Archives: Conor Gallagher

Still Amidst the Storm: A Family Man’s Search for Peace in an Anxious World

Conor Gallagher
St. Benedict Press/TAN Books, 172 pages

Living in today’s stressful world, where and how does one find time and space to decompress, to find peace? Recall that even Jesus withdrew from the crowds and took time away to spend time alone in prayer. But too often people are like the Apostles in the boat, asea in a storm, fearing the worst. In this little book, Conor Gallagher, a father of 12, suggests practical ways to find some peace even amid helter-skelter lives. It’s all about focusing on the present moment and listening to God’s voice – timeless pillars of common sense and of Christian spirituality.

Order: Amazon

God will pierce the corporate veil

A statement I really hate is “I’m just doing my job.” People use this either as a humblebrag (“Piece of cake because I’m awesome”), or to evade moral responsibility (“I was just following orders”). While the first usage is annoying, the second is dangerous. Adolf Eichmann’s defense in the Nuremburg trial was nothing more than, “I was just following Hitler’s orders.” This defense did not convince the Nuremburg judges, nor will it convince God.

Conor Gallagher

You can’t separate the person from the work. This simple truth lies at the core of the ever growing, overly complex subject of “business ethics.” Peter Drucker once said, “There is neither a separate ethics of business nor is one needed,” meaning that the same ethical rules that apply to man in his private life apply to him in his business life. An altruistic statement for sure, given our cluttered world of regulations and corporate law. Drucker, however, has a great point – as always.

As Catholic leaders, we must not allow ourselves to excuse or justify every decision we make with an unreflective “I’m just doing my job.” As leaders, we must take ownership of our actions and examine our individual consciences in light of what we profess to believe. If this reflection causes a few more sleepless nights, or, hopefully, more prayerful nights, then so be it. Actions have moral consequence. The corporation may be a legal “person”, but God judges real persons. He judges us.

Sometimes I wonder if the concept of a corporate entity, distinct from the people themselves, leads to a convenient disconnect between the person’s actions and the business’ actions. I remember the question being raised in metaphysics: does a community of persons have its own essence? And I remember a similar question being raised in corporate law: is this corporation a legal person? Both philosophy and law grapple with the same question. That should not surprise us, for it is an interesting and important question, especially for those of us for whom the answer is so fraught with significance. I understand the need for a legal entity and the need for a corporate veil. But we must not delude ourselves into thinking that the business actually took action. We took action. The legal entity is a fauxperson – convenient, yes, but faux nonetheless. It is we that will be judged, not the corporation.

In other words, God will pierce the corporate veil.

If we are virtuous through our businesses, God will reward us. If we are sinful through our businesses, God will punish us. “But God, I was just doing my job!” I would not want that as my defense on judgment day.

After being asked about corporate ethics, Milton Friedman once said, “So the question is, do corporate executives, provided they stay within the law, have responsibilities in their business activities other than to make as much money for their stockholders as possible? And my answer to that is, no, they do not.”

I think my fellow Legates would disagree with the great Milton Friedman on this point. For we all know that Christ will come to judge the living and the dead, not the S Corp, C Corp, or LLC.

CONOR GALLAGHER is publisher at Saint Benedict Press and TAN Books. He is the author of If Aristotle’s Kid Had an iPod: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Parents and obtained his J.D. and M.A. in philosophy from Catholic University. He and his wife, Ashley, have 12 children.

Conor Gallagher – Charlotte Chapter

Conor Gallagher, 37, has a lot on his plate. The former law clerk is the CEO of TAN Books/ St. Benedict Press and the executive director of the new Benedict Leadership Institute at Belmont Abbey College. Gallagher has been involved in managing every phase of St. Benedict Press, a company his father helped to found in 2006. He helped the company to acquire TAN Books in 2008. Gallagher has also been a longtime adjunct professor of philosophy and political philosophy at Belmont Abbey College. He and his wife have ten children, and are expecting twins. A founding member of Legatus’ Charlotte chapter, Gallagher spoke with Legatus magazine staff writer Brian Fraga.

Conor Gallagher

What is the Benedict Leadership Institute?

Belmont Abbey has always been concerned with developing the next generation of leaders and so we founded this institute in 2016. When we put this together a year ago, we decided that Carl Anderson, the supreme knight of the Knights of Columbus, would be the inaugural recipient of our annual leadership award that we’ll be giving for great Catholic leadership. We gave it to Carl specifically because of his defending of Christians in the Middle East.

Who runs the Benedict Leadership Institute?

I’m the executive director and our abbot, Placid Solari, and Dr. Bill Thierfelder, the president of Belmont Abbey College, are also on the executive committee. We’re also very active members in our Legatus chapter, which I think is pretty neat. Legatus is all about Catholic leadership, and here we are, three members of this local chapter, running this institute at Belmont Abbey, trying to help the next generation of leaders — people who will be Legatus members one day.

When did you join Legatus?

Our chapter was founded about eight months ago. I didn’t think I would have time for it at first, but I went to the first meeting, and realized, “Wow this was the best date night that I could possibly ask for with my wife.” You have the rosary, Mass, you have a good social environment with all these other people who are in executive positions like me, so I can relate to them. Then we have a great dinner and a great speaker. Aside from the spiritual benefits, it’s a great date night.

Are you still teaching at Belmont Abbey College?

This is the first school year that I haven’t taught in a long time, but I have a good reason. I demoted myself to teaching high school this year because I now have two high school students at home. We homeschool and — this even more exciting — I brought in six other students from homeschool families, and I’m teaching them US history and US constitutional law. We’re actually doing a mock court in federal court with the judge I used to clerk for.

Your family business, St. Benedict Press, acquired TAN Books in 2008 and saved it from bankruptcy. How did that happen?

Just like any acquisition, it’s a very challenging process to go through. You have this merging of cultures, with different employees from different businesses, and you have to create a new kind of culture. We had to discontinue a handful of titles for different reasons, but we also focused on bringing out new and improved editions of these great classics, and we quickly evolved to a multimedia company and started producing high-quality videos. We recently created a documentary on Mary called Queen of Heaven, and it’s been called the best documentary since Bishop Robert Barron’s Catholicism.

How do you balance all your responsibilities, especially as a father of ten with twins on the way?

It’s very simple. Marry a saint. That’s all you gotta do. The second thing is to pray like it all depends on God, and to work like it all depends on you.

What are your hobbies?

I have a new addiction: clay shooting. I’m fairly new at it, and I’m not very good, but going out there with a 12-gauge shotgun and blowing stuff out of the sky, it’s a blast, pun intended. Every morning I do a boot camp–style workout, but if you want to have a good time, go clay shooting.