The Church’s social doctrine has always maintained that justice must be applied to every phase of economic activity, because this is always concerned with man and his needs. Locating resources, financing, production, consumption, and all the other phases in the economic cycle inevitably have moral implications. Thus every economic decision has a moral consequence.

Pope Benedict XVI – CARITAS IN VERITATE 37, 2009

The ability of the more than 630,000 publicly traded companies to shape our world cannot be emphasized enough. The Business Roundtable restated the purpose of the corporation in 2020, changing it from maximizing shareholder returns to creating value for all stakeholders. 

When businesses choose a course for the common good to build solid relationships with employees, customers, the community, suppliers, etc., we believe those companies are more sustainable, more in tune with changing trends, more successful attracting and retaining talent, and more profitable in the long run. 

As a new and better model of capitalism is taking shape, emphasis is turning to a version where the market is embedded in society instead of remaining an external and independent system. After more than 25 years, the father of stakeholder theory, RW Freeman, has come to say that capitalism 2.0 is defined as a more cooperative than competitive arrangement, creating value for society as much as for shareholders. 

The Church’s modern theory of social justice aims to consider business as a vocation to create products and wealth that improve human life and dignity in a way that allows work to become a form of participation toward those ends, realizing one’s talents and finding meaning. 

Our Catholic Portfolio has a guiding philosophy to use these principles in order to choose true value companies. We aren’t simply filtering out the more obvious companies that, for example, provide drugs designed to end the life of the elderly or unborn; we are choosing companies that fit the profile of Catholic values to build a better world as a vocation for the common good. 

We look at all three of these areas—the way companies treat their workers, the things they produce, and how they use their wealth—using the principles of Catholic social thought, a subject Dr. Terrence McGoldrick has been steeped in for his entire career of more than thirty years as a theologian, author, and scholar. 

Products, work, and wealth that do not separate our faith, and its values of life and our natural world, from profit are what every one of these investments will be measured by. These are the kinds of firms that need to be supported if we are going to prosper both as a society and as investors. 

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