23 August 2017 | Internet

The roman catholic church becomes an impact investor

€œYOU cannot serve so much to God as to the money€, admonishes the Bible. But the church always has tried it. In the Middle Ages the monasteries were what now it would be called social companies. They would produce bread, books or other goods. To a franciscan monk the codification of the entered accounting of double is attributed to him.

In these days the related roman catholic church and institutions control many thousands of million dollars. Some are reversed to obtain income; some are #***aed-refl mng for good works. The two activities have been seen as separated. But, in the pontificate of Pope Francisco, that division is blurred. The investment of €œimpact€, destined to make money and to make the good at the same time, is growing in importance. Also it creates certain controversy.

In 2014, the Pope, speaking in a conference in the Vatican on the impact investment, called to the Christians to rediscover €œthis precious and fundamental unit between gain and solidarity€. Its church has responded. Some catholic institutions with assets to invest - including the Jesuits, Hermanas Franciscan of Maria and the Administration of Investments of Ascent they have destined a part of its investments for impact bottoms.

Meanwhile, new bottoms of catholic impact have formed, as those of the Pastoral Investment fund the Oblato International, that counts on the financial resources of more than 200 catholic organizations of more than 50 countries. Others have been united to cooperative efforts to align their strategies of investment. The Catholic Impact Investing Collaborative, for example, groups to 30 North American catholic institutions, with 50,000 million dollars in assets under administration (of which a small part is dedicated to the impact investment). In order to foment the participation of the public, new bottoms of impact have been created €œretail€, that allow the donors to buy a part by a small payment, we say $30.

So far, the catholic capital dedicated to impact investments this around $ 1,000 million. Nevertheless, such are the assets of the church that has the potential to transform the size of the impact-investment market. Also it could, nevertheless, transform the model of funding of the church: of a €œsequential one€, where the church first acquires wealth and soon it gives it; to a €œparallel€.

This cause anxiety in the catholic circles. Some worry that making money of philanthropy it cannot be fit with basic the moral imperative to take care of to the needed ones. Others fear a contact lost with the beneficiaries of the catholic generosity. The change in the strategy probably also requires a reorganization of the personnel. In the own church, few have the required financial experience, although the congregations could be a valuable source.

The impelling campaign of the impact was inspired by the Pope, that is directed by organizations as Catholic Relief Services, a humanitarian agency, other catholic bodies and by new €œdicasterio€ (division of Santo See), established this year for €œPromoting Integral the Human Development€. No aims at a total reform of the philanthropy of the church. The impact investment is seen as a promising strategy, but than not more complementary. The impact follows without replacing the charity.

This article appeared in the section of Finances and economy of the edition printed under the title €œFaith, hope and impact€

Source: The Economist

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