February 2008By Thomas Strobhar
Thomas Strobhar, President of Thomas Strobhar Financial in Dayton, Ohio, has over 25 years of investment experience. He is the founder of Citizen Action Now (www.citizenactionnow.com), an advocacy group that combats the imposition of the homosexual agenda, and Chairman of Life Decisions International (www. fightpp.org), an advocacy group dedicated to challenging the Culture of Death and promoting chastity. He is also the founder of Pro Vita Advisors (www.provitaadvisors.com), a nonprofit organization dedicated to exposing and confronting the business aspects of abortion. His shareholder resolutions against contributions to Planned Parenthood have affected corporate policies at AT&T, American Express, General Mills, Target Stores, Berkshire Hathaway, and others.
Five hundred years ago the Catholic Church was laid low for selling indulgences. Six years ago the Church was rocked by news of bishops covering up the sexual misdeeds of their fellow priests. Today hundreds of Catholic groups -- dioceses, archdioceses, and religious orders -- help fund their work through the sale of sex. Not sex per se, but the graphic depiction of sex found in hardcore pornography. Yes, the seamiest and steamiest hardcore porn films are brought into our living rooms and hotel rooms everyday through the investments of a veritable who's who of Catholic religious groups.
What do the bishops have to say about this? Not much. Until a few years ago, they had nothing to say. The investment guidelines of the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops (USCCB), first formulated in 1991, ran over 15 pages and treated esoteric subjects, like affordable housing, in some detail. But there was not a single word about pornography, one of the most likely precipitators of personal sin. Apparently, the bishops hadn't thought of it or did not think it was important. Maybe they hadn't heard many confessions lately. In 2003 that changed. They altered their guidelines and included the problem of pornography. The result: the bishops gave their blessing to investing in porn-related companies as long as the company's revenues from porn were not "significant." The USCCB's express policy, as stated in its "Socially Responsible Investment Guidelines: Principles for USCCB Investments" (Nov. 12, 2003), is: "The USCCB will not invest in a company that derives a significant portion of its revenues" from pornography.
According to one bishop, the original language offered by a committee commissioned to study the problem of porn called only for divestment if a company "has a majority investment or participation" in pornographic material. This was seen as too lenient by some bishops, who managed to have the language changed to "a significant portion of its revenues." The "majority investment or participation" language reflected the then-current practice of the Christian Brothers Investment Services (CBIS), whose specific policy alluded to a 50 percent or more interest in porn-related material.
The Christian Brothers are one of the largest investors of Catholic institutional money in the world. They invest billions of dollars for over 1,000 Catholic "dioceses, religious institutes, educational institutions and health care organizations." Archbishop John Vlazny of Portland, Ore., is a trustee of CBIS, and Archbishop Emeritus James Keleher of Kansas City is a former trustee. CBIS helped formulate the bishops' original investment guidelines in 1991 and boast on their website that "CBIS was honored to be the only investment firm asked to advise the USCCB in the development of the updated guidelines" in 2003. CBIS, which touts its "disciplined approach to socially responsible investing" as a way for "Catholic institutions to invest in a manner that is consistent with their mission and with the teachings of the Catholic Church," is presumably in the best position to know what "significant" means to the bishops in practice.
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Back to February 2008 Issue
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|It's "NOT just the Bishops' and Christian Brothers' problem. It is our problem. Like all scandals in the Church, the laity is usually somewhat complicit."
Indeed. In everything from the Gulf War, to our unsustainable, usurious economic/petroleum binge that drives it, to the collapse of sexual ethics (not only the abuse scandal, but also the annulment scandal & Humanae Vitae pastoral collapse) the laity are very complicit.
So we have the shepherds we deserve. The bishops know the score. If they tried to preach the Faith, we would mostly revolt. No, scratch that. We have already revolted. And they say nothing, and simply enable us in our profligacy and sin.
Suburbia will have its SUV's and 1.8 child families. The plastic, lube & latex that requires is sacrosanct. No mere priest would dare preach against it, these days. We would howl him down for preaching the truth, long before we would ever any heresy.
But the debt comes due. We are held to account. Mammon and Moloch will press their claim.
|Posted by: chascurtis
February 05, 2008 03:01 PM EST
|May God Bless Tom Strobhar, for his integrity, his knowledge, and his COURAGE - to speak the TRUTH!
May all of the people that read this article, express their outrage, to the USCCB, as well as the "Christian Brothers", for their LACK of integrity. And may every person of faith:1)Follow the money trail,2)Know what you own(or invest in), and 3)Put your money where your heart is!
We will all be judged on our Stewardship, of the blessings our Lord has ENTRUSTED into our care.
"Be not afraid", the TRUTH shall set you free!
Respectfully, John D. Vleko; Southfield,MI
|Posted by: jvleko
February 02, 2008 12:01 PM EST
Still, I wonder just how culpable WE ALL are in this mess.
Most of us have 401Ks or TSAs. We are busy people. We sit down with a financial advisor who gives us some investment options (usually mutual funds). We put aside a portion of our income every month in these funds thinking we are being responsible.
But who knows where all the money is going? The fund managers care about one thing and one thing only: profit. We know generally which economic areas the mutual funds are in, but we don't often know all the specific companies in a given fund. How many of us are unwittingly funding sin?
Further, once we are invested, how do we divest? There are fees and penalties for removing funds. Of course, once we discover an immoral investment, we MUST pay the price to divest. But a price will be paid..
I agree whole heartedly with the article, and resolve to take a look at where my money is going. I also think the Church should be held to account regarding immoral investments. Still, I think everyone should wake up on this. This is NOT just the Bishops' and Christian Brothers' problem. It is our problem. Like all scandals in the Church, the laity is usually somewhat complicit.
|Posted by: eakter
February 03, 2008 10:56 PM EST
|Perhaps one bishop Sheen knew more than many of the others when he asked, "Who is going to save our Church? Not our bishops, not our priests and religious. It is up to you, the people. You have the minds, the eyes, the ears to save the Church. Your mission is to see that your priests act like priests, your bishops, like bishops, and your religious act like religious.” (Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, before the Knights of Columbus, June 1972.) Unfortunately, the K of C does not seem to have responded noticeably for the past 35 years on both issues, the clergy’s scandal or porn.
|Posted by: firstname.lastname@example.org
February 04, 2008 08:47 AM EST
|Porn is the feed stock of the homosexual lifestyle. It was reported on EWTN by a panel of noted Priests in 2002 that as many as 60% of Priests were Gay. Is it any wonder these guys were promoted to Bishop and Cardinal and now hold sway over the Church. Infiltration is a word we all should add to our every day vocabulary as it even fits things as seemingly minor as our Pastoral councils who bend to the secular world. All must keep our ears tuned to the possibility of destructive thinking mavericks amongst us in positions of power.
||Posted by: paulc37
March 11, 2008 06:01 AM EDT
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