ImpactAlpha, April 21 – From an empty St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis reminded Catholics that the COVID pandemic is an opportunity to attune lives and actions to injustice, the poor and “our ailing planet.” A group of 21 Catholic organizations representing $40 billion in assets is demonstrating how, pledging to align their investment portfolios to impact.
New signatories to the Catholic Impact Investing pledge, launched last October by the Catholic Impact Investing Collaborative (CIIC), include Catholic Relief Services, the Catholic Community Foundation of Minnesota, and several European institutions (see, “Catholic institutions pledge to increase impact investments in climate action and social equity”). They join the pledge’s six original backers.
The COVID crisis has sparked the Catholic community to accelerate impact investing. “There’s a heightened sense of urgency now to serving populations at risk,” CIIC’s Maggie Stohler told ImpactAlpha.
That sense of urgency, of course, starts at the top. “The pope is convinced that we are living through an epochal change,” said Cardinal Peter Turkson, whose Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development will help direct the church’s response to the global pandemic (see, “Agent of Impact: The Vatican’s Cardinal Peter Turkson“). Pope Francis is reflecting on the economic and social consequences of the pandemic, Turkson said, “and, above all, on how the church can offer itself as a safe point of reference to the world lost in the face of an unexpected event.”
“Pope Francis has a vision of putting the economy to the service of people,” said Beth Collins of CIIC signatory Catholic Relief Services. “There is no better time to consider doing this than now.”