Investing morally

I am going to start investing my money in mutual funds and I was doing some research and found that some of the funds invest in pharmaceutical and scientific research companies. I was thinking that it may be possible that some of these stocks may invest in embryonic stem cell research and the abortion pill and perhaps other things.

I don’t know if it is moral or not to invest in companies that fund these evils. I obviously am going to try to avoid it and I know that there are certain investment companies that operate in accord with the catholic faith, but would it be moral to use the investment company that my parents use and research the companies and try to avoid the companies that contribute to evils?

I’d avoid them. There are plenty of companies that while sadly support evil on the side, it is not the primary purpose of the company. These companies usage primary purposes that are not in line with church teachings.

Does anybody else have any thoughts? I really just don’t know right now. In a way it seems like it might be wrong top invest in these companies, but in another way it seems that I may be so far removed from the moral evil that it would be okay.

Nfrancis, you are very, very far removed from any evil. Invest in whoever you wish, barring something so over the top that any patronage is immoral, i.e., playboy magazine.

If you bar doing business with anyone with some connection to immorality, very quickly you bar doing business with everyone: Even if all the company’s dealings are 100% honest and Christian, what do you do when the CEO divorces his wife and takes up with his secretary? Sell your stock? Point is you are far removed from any evil. I commend you for being considerate of these things, but invest without fear.

Personally, I would rather see people with a well-formed conscience invest in these kinds of companies than people who don’t care. You can use investment as a way to do good. A letter from an investor objecting to the practices you mention carries more weight than one from a random person with no stake in the company.

Not by much. If you are worried about Big Pharma, first of all, to whom are you even going to write a letter? Which individual? Which department? Which location?

Secondly, if you look at a company like Merck, they have 2.84 Billion shares out there, and their average daily trading volume is >10MM. AstraZeneca is 1.26 billion shares trading > 1MM daily, Novartis is 2 billion trading > 1MM. Pfizer is 6 billion trading > 26MM.

If you buy a round lot or 10, you are still not even a small timer or even a micro-timer. They won’t care. Chances are good that they won’t even care what the average fund manager thinks, and that person is influencing in volumes 99.99% of folks never will individually.

I’d agree with the gist of what “PolarGuy” said. If you are buying mutual funds, NFrancis, MOST of them buy Pharma in some fashion. But you’re far removed from these decisions. Are you supporting the things you wish to avoid? Yeah, but you’re supporting the full spectrum of things in a tiny, tiny way.

Thank you everyone for your answers.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit