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USCCB Guidelines for Socially Responsible Investments

The USCCB Investing Guidelines for Faithful Catholics in Brief

1 Avoid evil.
2 Do good.

Recognizing the need to bring the Gospel to the world of investments, the USCCB has published and revised a set of clear and comprehensive policies, to guide Catholics’ investments and other activities related to corporate responsibility. In short, the American Bishops call the faithful to do no harm, protect human life and promote human dignity. Living up to these standards is a matter the bishops leave to individuals and their financial advisors.

Jump to a more detailed explanation of the bishops’ guidelines.

It is easy to claim to offer investment solutions that are “Catholic.” Many times, however, the solutions fall short. Catholics face a number of challenges in developing and applying Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) guidelines to their financial assets. The bishops have set certain business activities as off limits for Catholic investors and also advise that investors seek to change business practices for the better.

We Offer A Wide Range of Investment Options, All USCCB Compliant

A major advantage of letting Summit manage your investment portfolio is the wide range of options we provide. You will not be forced into a one-size-fits all solution.

Our financial advisors will find you a portfolio to fit your financial needs and risk tolerance.

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Capital Appreciation

Our Catholic Values portfolios are designed to grow your capital year after year.

Elderly Catholic Couple Living Off Dividends from Investment Portfolio

Dividend Income

An Equity Yield portfolio can help generate the annual income you need to live on.

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Passive Portfolios

Harness the market’s historical growth patterns with a passive investing portfolio.

Poor Box Symbolizing Catholic Charitable Trusts

Donor Advised Funds

Our Catholic financial advisors will help you set up and manage charitable giving accounts.

As Catholic portfolio managers, we feel called in a special way to answer the USCCB’s challenge for socially responsible investments.

That’s why we offer our portfolios to a wide range of investors.

Man Crossing Street Representative of Catholic Investor Changing to Socially Responsible Portfolio

Individual Investors

Individual Catholic investors are welcome to use any of our services to invest in line with their conscience.

Catholic Cathedral Bell Tower in Diocese Investing According to USCCB Guidelines

Catholic Dioceses

Catholic dioceses and diocesan organizations can fund initiatives with our portfolios.

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Catholic Institutions

Non-diocesan Catholic institutions are able to take advantage of our financial products.

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Financial Advisors

Other financial advisors may offer our portfolios to their Catholic clients.

The portfolios we offer devout Catholics do not include investments in companies that are involved in the following activities:

Baby Saved Through Pro Life Investment Portfolio


No Catholic can support abortion in good conscience. Our portfolios scrupulously avoid any connection with abortion providers.

Contraception Pills Produced Without Money from Catholic Investment Portfolio


Contraception is part of the Culture of Death and our Catholic portfolios will not support it with investment funds.

Stem Cell Research Conducted without Funds from Catholic Investment Portfolio

Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Scientific progress is laudable, but Catholics must not support morally evil practices including stem cell research.

African Man and Woman Employed by Non Discriminatory Company Invested in by Catholic Portfolios

Racial and Gender Discrimination

Catholic portfolios avoid investing in companies engaging in racial or gender based discrimination.

Girl's Eyes Symbolizing Anti-Pornography Investment Portfolio


All of God’s children are precious and Catholics must not support the objectification of others through their investments.

Catholic Cathedral Bell Tower in Diocese Investing According to USCCB Guidelines

Arms Production

Catholic portfolios do not support the production of weapons designed for indiscriminate killing.

Lecture Hall in Catholic University Funding Pensions with USCCB Compliant Portfolio

Morally Wrong Business Activities

We are called to be good stewards of the Earth and, as such, Catholic investment portfolios avoid morally objectionable business activities.

Answering the bishops’ call to engage corporate management and promote the good, Summit actively advocates to end immoral activities. Our advocacy efforts have been very successful. Here are a few of our recent impact investing success stories.

Regardless of who you are or what financial needs you have, Summit is here to help. Contact our advisors for a free consultation on starting a Catholic investment portfolio.
For a more detailed explanation of the USCCB’s investment guidelines, see below or visit the USCCB’s official page.


American Catholic Bishops Outline Morally Justified Investing Practices

Office Buildings Representing Investment Opportunities for Catholic InvestorsEverything we have is a gift from God and must be used to further His Will on Earth. Our time, talents and treasure should all be spent serving God. Individual Catholics can put their money to work by investing in a wide range of publicly traded companies. Many businesses are innocuous, carrying out their core competencies in a morally acceptable manner. Others, however, relentlessly pursue profit regardless of the morality of their actions.

There can be serious moral implications for shareholders of companies engaged in sinful activities.

Being a stockholder makes each investor a part owner of a company. This ownership is admittedly tiny and most shareholders have almost no say over what a particular business does. Nonetheless, return on investment and mere monetary concerns cannot be the only factors Catholic investors consider when selecting equities.

History of Catholic Socially Responsible Investment Principles

The history of socially responsible investing is nothing new in the Catholic Church. Many companies are using the concept as a “new” form of investing. The Catholic Bishops and Summit Investment Management have always seen socially responsible investing as a necessity for a better world.

A Short History of the Church’s Recent Teaching on Responsible Investing

1891 – Pope Leo XIII issues an Encyclical on social justice
1971 – Catholic Bishops challenge corporations on the issue of apartheid in South Africa
1986 – USCCB issues first formal investing guidelines focusing on avoiding investment in companies which might cause scandal
1993 – USCCB updates its guidelines to remove apartheid after its demise and to include advocacy for Catholic social issues
2003 – USCCB updates its guidelines by adding additional issues for avoiding scandal (landmines, pornography, human embryonic stem cells) and the promotion of social issues (human rights, access to pharmaceuticals, labor standards, environmental protection, corporate responsibility)

Recognizing the sometimes apparently competing duties of being fiscally responsible and morally upright, the USCCB published guidelines explaining how Catholics should approach investing. These guidelines are fairly common sense and offer the faithful an opportunity to be witnesses to the Gospel in their financial dealings.

Good Financial Stewardship Is Socially Responsible Investing

Being good stewards of our financial gifts involves far more than simply multiplying them. Faithful stewards will also be careful not to benefit personally by investing in corporations working in opposition to the Gospel. Jesus has harsh words for hypocritical Pharisees. It is not too difficult to imagine what He would say to investors who would willingly invest in companies using slave labor or openly providing abortions.

Catholic Church Representing USCCB's Investment GuidelinesTo bring the Light of Christ to the world of investing, the USCCB offers three general principles to bear in mind.

  • Investors must avoid participating in evil activities
  • Investors must be actively engaged in shareholder voting
  • Investors must work to change corporate policies for the better

As the logical conclusion of these principles, the USCCB gives concrete guidance on what practices must be avoided and what socially responsible goals Catholic investors should seek to promote.

Specifically, Catholic investment portfolios should:

  • Protect Human Life
  • Promote Human Dignity
  • Reduce Arms Production
  • Pursue Economic Justice
  • Protect the Environment
  • Encourage Corporate Responsibility

The result of these socially responsible goals is the list of morally illicit activities. Catholics must never invest in businesses engaged in abortion, contraception, embryonic stem cell research, racial and gender discrimination, pornography, arms production or other morally wrong business activities.

Lastly, Catholics are called to do more than simply avoid evil. We must also promote the good. The bishops state investors must try to sway corporate policies away from immoral or questionable activities. By eliminating the funding of evil practices and fostering positive change, Catholic investors can make a tremendous difference in the world.

To learn more about our investment portfolios following the USCCB guidelines, schedule a free consultation with our Catholic financial advisors today.