Vatican investments must follow Catholic social teaching, says new policy

This is the cover of a document released by the Holy See Investment Committee on July 19, 2022, with new statutes and policies governing Vatican investments. The document calls for investments consistent with Catholic teaching and financial responsibility. (Photo: CNS/courtesy Holy See Press Office)

By Junno Arocho Esteves

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – The Vatican has released a new policy consolidating the investment portfolios of all offices and maintaining all current and future investments in accordance with the social doctrine of the Catholic Church.

The new rules will ensure that investments contribute “to a more just and sustainable world” and will protect “the real value of the Holy See’s net worth and generate a return sufficient to sustainably contribute to the financing of its activities”, according to a published statement. July 19 by the Vatican Secretariat for the Economy.

The policy provides “specific exclusions from financial investments that contradict” fundamental tenets of the Catholic Church, including the sanctity of human life, human dignity and the common good, according to the statement.

The new policy will come into effect on a trial basis for five years, starting September 1.

Curial offices must entrust their financial investments to the Holy See Heritage Administration, which administers Vatican properties and investments, according to the new policy, which was approved by Pope Francis and signed by the Jesuit Father. Juan Antonio Guerrero Alves, prefect of the secretariat. for the Economy.

The administration, known by its Italian initials APSA, will in turn create a single fund for the Holy See “in which will go the investments in the different financial instruments and will have an account for each institution, as well as the processing of declarations and the payment of declarations”. ”

In addition, the newly created Investment Committee — chaired by U.S. Cardinal Kevin J. Farrell, Prefect of the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life — will implement the new investment strategy and “assess the appropriateness of the choices , with particular attention to the conformity of the investments made with the principles of the social doctrine of the church, as well as the parameters of return and risk according to the policy of investment”, declared the secretariat.

According to the constitution, “Praedicate Evangelium” (“Preaching the Gospel”) reforming the Roman Curia, the Investment Committee is responsible for “ensuring the ethical character of the movable investments of the Holy See according to the social doctrine of the Church and, at the same time, their profitability, suitability and risk.

The investment policy stated that the Holy See, including the Roman Curia and related entities, had a responsibility to support the mission of the Church “by investing in accordance with the principles of Catholic teaching and defending the common good. , while recognizing their fiduciary responsibilities as investors. ”

It also included a list of sectors in which Vatican offices are prohibited from investing, including: “pornography and prostitution; gambling; arms and defense industry; pro-abortion health centers; and laboratories and pharmaceutical companies that manufacture contraceptive products and/or work with embryonic stem cells.

However, the policy only discouraged “speculative investments” in controversial sectors, such as raw materials, the oil and mining industry, nuclear energy or producers of alcoholic beverages.

On the other hand, the policy encourages investment in companies working for the protection of the environment and the promotion of the use of clean energies and those which are committed to “eradicating inequalities in all their manifestations, to namely (the) gender pay gap, maximum-minimum pay gap, exclusion, hunger, poverty” or that promote development projects in poor countries.

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