2016-05-13 10:06:00

Faith-conscious investing responds to Pope's challenges to global economy

(Vatican Radio) With the reform of the Vatican IOR making a landmark on Thursday, one possible way of putting into practice Pope Francis’ challenges to the 'globalization of indifference' in our global economy could be investment in funds for local infrastructure projects. 

The Vatican IOR on Thursday released its Annual Report on 2015, saying it’s now "impossible to launder money" through them.

Fr. Seamus Finn of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate is the Board Chairman of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, which comprises nearly 300 organizations and collectively represents over $100 billion in invested capital.

Nearly a year on from the release of Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’, Devin Watkins spoke to Oblate Fr. Seamus Finn about how the Holy Father’s challenges to the global economy have been put into practice.

Listen to the full interview:

Laudato Si' in practice

Fr. Finn said that several religious organizations have made efforts to put into practice Pope Francis' challenges to our global economy, or the 'globalization of indifference' as the Pope calls it.

"I think we're at the stage now of trying to practically apply the challenges the Holy Father has put out there about the economic system that we have. So, very simply, how do we really respond to the 'globalization of indifference' that he seems to feel is one of the consequences of the affluence of the first world and the domination of first world in term of the economic system."

As Chair of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, Fr. Finn assists corporations and religious institutions in investing and operating in a faith-conscious manner. He said there are several projects which aim at putting Pope Francis' teachings into practice.

"We have spent a lot of time looking at some of the private equity initiatives that are out there... Some individuals and groups of individuals have come forward and constructed funds that are specifically targeted at addressing the issues related to energy, agriculture, housing, telecommunications, financial services. And they feel they've come up with ways in which they can creatively do that in a way that's profitable for investors and that serves populations that are now underserved or that governments are not able to [serve]."

"An example of one of those funds is an energy fund in the Caribbean. These folks have been diligently looking at, can we take solar energy and wind energy and develop it at a scale in which the local governments - who have been unable to deliver enough energy these local populations - can invest."

Vatican IOR reform possibilities

Fr. Finn commented on the reform process taking place within the Vatican IOR and APSA, saying "I think they've made great progress in the reforms that have been put in place. I think they've responded well to the challenges of the European Union in terms of trying to fit more accurately and transparently into the larger community."

He said, "I'm hopeful they will begin now to look at some of these projects and say, 'we're not as rich as people think we are but we could profitably and responsibly advise our clients or invest some of our capital in some of these funds and do it in a way that we might then hold up [as examples of ways in which] we are responding to the challenges the Holy Father has put out there for all of us. I think it would do wonders for their reputation and their image."


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