“Mensuram Bonam”. Faith-Based Measures for Catholic Investors: A Starting Point and Call to Action

2022 | pp. 45


The Council Fathers, at the second session of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), gave the Church a mandate to engage with the entire human family, with whom she is connected, in conversation and dialogue about its various problems. They believed this gesture would bear “witness to the faith of the Church and [be] an eloquent witness and proof of her solidarity with and respect for the human race”.[1] Since then, several initiatives of the Dicasteries of the Roman Curia have sought to implement the Council's mandate. MENSURAM BONAM (MB), the work that is presented here, is part of this tradition of Church initiatives seeking to engage in dialogue with the human family about its various experiences and challenges. With its publication, Mensuram Bonam hopes to shed the light of the Gospel and of Catholic Social Teaching (CST) on the specific area of economics and the world of finance which may be referred to as the management of financial assets or investing.

As agents of institutions and as individuals, people may be entrusted with assets to be invested, rather than merely spent. Since finance has taken on a larger role at every level of human activity, the need for the Church to reflect on the requirements of Christian discipleship, including the vocation of persons to stewardship in this arena, has become more critical. It is important that their stewardship of created goods, including all forms of financial activity, especially asset management, be directed to reflect this gift of God to the human family, by serving the common good, respecting justice and ethical standards.[2]

How the Church equips her faithful for such an exercise, calls to mind the observation of Pope Benedict XVI about the Church and Politics. Echoing the teaching of Vatican Council II, Pope Benedict XVI observes that “the Church does not have technical solutions to offer”,[3] and does not, therefore, interfere in any way in the politics of States. However, the Church does “have a mission of truth to accomplish, in every time and circumstance, for a society that is attuned to man, to his dignity, to his vocation. […...] Fidelity to man requires fidelity to the truth, which alone is the guarantee of freedom (cf. Jn. 8:32) and of the possibility of integral human development”.[4] Mensuram Bonam adopts the same posture towards the world of finance. Accordingly, the light of the Gospel and of Catholic Social Teaching which MB seeks to shed on ‘the management of financial assets’ belongs to the Church’s mission of truth, which is not only the truth of faith, but also the truth of reason. The Church’s social teaching is a particular application of this encounter between the light of faith and the light of reason.[5]

This call contained in MB could not come at a better time. As Pope Francis often observes, the ongoing crisis due to the Covid-19 pandemic has uncovered other pandemics of dysfunctional social systems, such as job insecurity, poor access to healthcare, food insecurity and corruption. But Pope Francis also sees this crisis as an opportunity to look at the future which we can dream about together and to discover values and priorities in the teaching of our faith and its wisdom for building such a future and inspiring our investing with faith-consistent criteria.

Rooted as it is in the teachings of faith and in the Church’s social teaching, MB speaks to and supports all those, who work in the financial sectors every day (institutions but also individuals), and are searching for ways to live their faith and contribute to the promotion of an inclusive and integral wellbeing or advancement of people. MB seeks to offer such an opportunity for discernment, providing guidance and principles to enable them to respond to the call of the Gospel and the wisdom of the Tradition of the Church by more fully integrating the Church’s social and moral teaching into the management of their financial assets with a focus on investing in listed securities or mutual funds.

The objective of this publication, is twofold:

i.         where investment guidelines and criteria exist, entities should be encouraged to persevere in systematically integrating Catholic Social Teaching into their investment policies, and adjust them where necessary from time to time.

ii.        where such guidelines have not yet been developed, MB is providing a stimulus and a model / example to help and to encourage institutions to establish clear investment policies by integrating Catholic Social Teaching into their investing process.

In building on the good work that has been accomplished by many in the Church as well as by our sisters and brothers in other faith traditions and men and women of good will, we hope that this Catholic Perspective on Faith-Consistent Investing will be a source of inspiration and guidance to Catholic institutions and believers and to willing listeners everywhere. For, drawn from the treasures of Church teaching, the proposals of this document look to the assistance of every person of our time, whether they believe in God, or do not explicitly recognize Him. If adopted, they will promote within the human family a sharper insight into its full destiny, and thereby lead it to fashion a world more to man's surpassing dignity, to search for a brotherhood which is universal and more deeply rooted, and to meet the urgencies of our ages with a gallant and unified effort born of love[6] (cf. GS n.91).

Mensuram Bonam also looks forward in the coming years to following up on its engagement with the investment industry, to reflect on the principles that flow from their faith, value systems and mission in life.

We would now like to take this opportunity to thank heartily all who have contributed to the preparation of this call to action, as a dedicated working group,[7] engaged themselves in the Church’s mission of truth, and ECHo[8]  Fund which facilitated the discussion of Mensuram Bonam in the Academy of Social Sciences of the Holy See.

Peter Kodwo Cardinal Turkson

(Chancellor: Pontifical Academies of Sciences & of Social Sciences)


[1] Pastoral Constitution of the Church in the Modern world, Gaudium et spes, December 7, 1965, 3,

[2] Finance is an important sector of the economy which embraces several activities including investing. However, as an activity, finance must actively be at the service of the real economy and not be used solely as a means of unproductive speculation.

[3] Caritas in veritate, 9

[4] Idem

[5] Idem

[6] Gaudium et spes, 91.

[7] Elena Beccalli, Paolo Camoletto, John Dalla Costa, Jean-Baptiste Douville de Franssu, Rev Father Séamus Finn, Robert G. Kennedy, Mark Krcmaric, Pierre de Lauzun, Rev Father Thomas McClain, Rev Father Nicola Riccardi, Antoine de Salins, Anna Maria Tarantola, Alessandra Viscovi, Helge Wulsdorf, Stefano Zamagni.

[8] ECHo Fund is a consultancy group based at 55 Silwood Road Bramely Johannesburg, with representatives in East Africa (Kenya), West Africa (Ghana) and Central Africa (DR Congo) to help local Churches with financing Church mission.