Catholic concerns

Abortion, “environmental justice,” pornography and universal access to health care are the top priorities for Catholic investors, a new survey says.

Next on the list of priority issues are military-weapons contractors and fetal-tissue and stem-cell research, says the study by Christian Brothers Investment Services, a group that manages $3.5 billion in assets for Catholic institutions, including dioceses, hospitals and schools.

“Environmental rights,” defined as the rights of neighborhoods and communities, was included in the survey for the first time in 2004 and took over the number two spot, which was held by sweatshops in 2001.

More than eight in 10 investors surveyed say they strive to invest all their assets in a socially responsible fashion and the same number say they believe active participation by shareholders has a “meaningful impact on corporate behavior.”

Christian Brothers conducts the survey periodically to ensure its investing strategy is aligned with investors’ priorities, it says.

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