Last November, the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences released a document called Mensuram Bonam, (‘A Good Measure’), a 50-page guide that provides Catholic investors with a series of faith-based criteria to be taken into consideration to ensure investments promote the common good. It is designed to help those who work in the area of business and finance to discern how to navigate this difficult area. In his encyclical letter Caritas in Veritate, published just after the financial crisis, Pope Benedict said that ‘efforts are needed — and it is essential to say this — not only to create ethical sectors or segments of the economy or the world of finance, but to ensure that the whole economy — the whole of finance — is ethical, not merely by virtue of an external label, but by its respect for requirements intrinsic to its very nature. The Church’s social teaching is quite clear on the subject, recalling that the economy, in all its branches, constitutes a sector of human activity.’ This teaching is repeated in Mensuram Bonam. Mensuram Bonam is not intended to instruct Catholic investors to invest in particular ways, although a number of investments – included certain healthcare investments and armaments – are highlighted as requiring caution. But it does provide a framework for reflection to help investors avoid moral evils and also, actively to do good. The principles laid out in the document should be considered carefully by all investors – individual investors working for institutions or those managing the investments of dioceses, religious orders, other Catholic organisations or Catholic investment funds – as they develop their statements of investment principles.
You can download a copy of Mensuram Bonam by clicking here.