By Sr. Laura Goedken
As the Catholic Foundation for the Diocese of Davenport (CFDD) invests its financial resources, it aims to bring together faith and finances. We believe our investments must reflect the values that form the core of our Catholic beliefs. Our goal is to invest in companies in order to realize steady financial returns while minimizing risk and preserving capital. We avoid investing in certain companies and at the same time, we work at promoting fundamental change in certain behaviors of other corporations. We want to be a Catholic voice in the marketplace.
The major themes of Catholic social teaching are: protection of human life and dignity of the human person; call to family, community and participation; rights and responsibilities; option for the poor and vulnerable; the dignity of work and the rights of workers; solidarity with one another; and care for God’s creation.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops encourages its organizations to invest in a socially responsible manner. When CFDD had sufficient resources to invest, the Investment Committee did careful research on where to invest in order to follow this guideline of the bishops.
The foundation selected Christian Brothers Investment Services (CBIS) to do its investing. CBIS utilizes two investment strategies — principled purchasing and active ownership in order to fully integrate Catholic social teaching into the investment process.
Principled purchasing (stock screens) avoids investment in companies whose behaviors are so contrary to our beliefs that we are unwilling to profit from their activities. Currently at CBIS, principled purchasing criteria apply to issues of life ethics, militarism/ violence, tobacco and pornography. Life ethics include abortion/ abortifacients, contraceptives, embryonic stem cell research, human cloning and fetal tissue research. Militarism/violence includes major contributors to the spread of global militarism, producers of landmines and manufacturers of firearms.
The Catholic Foundation and CBIS believe that faith-filled investment activities take into account both financial considerations and our religious values and beliefs. The second strategy, active ownership, will be the subject in the next article.
This is second in a series of three articles.
(Sr. Goedken is director of development for the Diocese of Davenport.)