Volume 2 - Issue 4  

 

 

April 29, 2011

 
 
Morally Responsible Investing for the Catholic Institutional Investor
  In the oft quoted parable of the talents, the servant that ‘played it safe’ and buried the ‘talent’ was treated sternly by the Master. Is the lesson to place “double or nothing” bets? Of course not, and we know that investing is not betting. We are, however, prompted to make sure we use our talents in helping build the Kingdom of God here on earth.

With today’s unprecedented, real-time access to global investments, Catholic
institutions face a number of challenges in developing and applying Morally Responsible Investing (MRI) guidelines to their financial assets. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has published and revised guidelines that provide some direction, but out of respect for the subsidiary authority of those entities looking to these guidelines and in recognition of the complexity involved in the prudent application of any formal set of rules, adapting and implementing an actual investment policy based on these guidelines is a task left to each individual diocese, religious order, or other entity. The development, implementation and maintenance of an effective investment policy that is in keeping with Church teachings while providing the required financial returns, entails a significant investment of thought and effort. It is difficult to strike the appropriate balance between sound temporal goods administration and the application of modern financial concepts addressing risk/reward, asset allocation and investment portfolio optimization. There is complexity and effort involved, but the effort involved should not cause us to shy away from our responsibility for MRI oversight nor should it be seen as an excuse to “bury one’s talents” and avoid the responsibility to act as stewards of these assets. Although this responsibility usually falls on the shoulders of an already stretched diocesan Finance Director, CFO or a community’s Bursar with some degree of oversight or guidance from lay advisors from the Finance Council or other like body, it must be addressed either internally or externally. A first order question for an organization developing MRI screens and processes is whether it has the staff time and expertise to set-up the needed framework ...

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Good Steward Newsletter – April 2011
Lent is the Season for Stewardship
 
Each year you give us this joyful season when we prepare to celebrate the paschal mystery with mind and heart renewed. Your give us a spirit of loving reverence for you, our Father, and of willing service to our neighbor. As we recall the great events that gave us new life in Christ, you bring the image of your Son to new perfection within us.
(Preface for Lent I)
More than any other season of the liturgical year, Lent is the season for stewardship. It is the time of year when the Church asks us to pay particular attention to prayer, fasting and almsgiving. These are (or should be) year-round practices for faithful Christian stewards, but they are especially important to our observance of Lent.

Why are these three Christian disciplines so important to our understanding and observance of
Lent?...

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Stewardship and Capital Fundraising
 
Stewardship is not about money or possessions or even skills and talents. It’s about spiritual principles. Stewardship is a response to Jesus’ invitation: “Go, sell all that you have and give it to the poor, and come follow me.” Stewardship is discipleship in action; it is
what we do after we say we believe.
In their 1992 stewardship pastoral the American bishops describe four characteristics of a Christian steward.

The first characteristic is gratitude. A Christian steward is “one who receives God’s gifts gratefully.” Gratitude assumes that we acknowledge God as the true owner of all that we have and all that we are. Gratitude to God, and to those who have shared themselves with us, helps us maintain a true sense of identity as Christ’s disciples.

The second characteristic is accountability. A good steward is “one who cherishes and tends God’s gifts in a responsible and accountable manner.” Accountability reminds us that we are responsible for what we do (or fail to do) with our time, our talent, and our money. As Christ’s disciples, we are responsible for building up God’s kingdom, and on the Last Day, we will be held accountable.

The third characteristic is generosity. A Christian steward is “one who shares God’s gifts with others out of justice and love.” Generosity propels us outside of ourselves – often in ways that contradict our own interests. The lives of the saints give us countless examples of individuals whose generosity won them true freedom and joy. Giving is good for us; it is also right and just to share what we have been given with others...

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