Skip to main contentAccessibility feedback

Dear visitors: This website from Catholic Answers, with all its many resources, is the world's largest source of explanations for Catholic beliefs and practices. A fully independent, lay-run, 501(c)(3) ministry that receives no funding from the institutional Church, we rely entirely on the generosity of everyday people like you to keep this website going with trustworthy , fresh, and relevant content. If everyone visiting this month gave just $1, would be fully funded for an entire year. Do you find helpful? Please make a gift today. Thank you. Wishing you a blessed Lenten season.

Dear visitors: This website from Catholic Answers, with all its many resources, is the world's largest source of explanations for Catholic beliefs and practices. A fully independent, lay-run, 501(c)(3) ministry that receives no funding from the institutional Church, we rely entirely on the generosity of everyday people like you to keep this website going with trustworthy , fresh, and relevant content. If everyone visiting this month gave just $1, would be fully funded for an entire year. Do you find helpful? Please make a gift today. Thank you. Wishing you a blessed Lenten season.

Background Image

Ethical Finance and Investing

Audio only:

Jesus spoke a great deal about money and wealth, but how do we apply his teaching in a world of complex financial interconnectedness? Deacon Frank Reilly, the founder of Reilly Financial Advisors, now a part of Creative Planning brings a lifetime of experience to the question. Terence McGoldrick, Providence College Theology Professor, is an advisor to Deacon Frank in the work of finding morally acceptable investment opportunities. Both join us for a discussion.

Cy Kellett:                    Hello, and welcome to Focus, the Catholic Answers Podcast for living, understanding, and defending your Catholic faith. I’m Cy Kellett, your host, and we Catholics are really good at bioethics. We’re very good at family ethics. You want the ethics of warfare? We can do that. But when it comes to financial ethics, especially in a world in which there are more and more complex financial instruments available to people, how do we make those moral decisions? And is the Church really any help to us at all? We welcome two guests this time to help us discuss this very question. First, in studio here with us is Deacon Frank Reilly, the founder of Reilly Financial Advisors, which is now part of Creative Planning. Deacon Reilly, thanks for being here.

Dn. Frank Reilly:           Oh, I’m so happy to be here.

Cy Kellett:                    Full disclosure, both of us, children of the Diocese of San Diego, I guess, is a way to say it. You ordained a deacon here in the diocese, and I worked for a long time for Bishop Bram at the newspaper. It turns out that the other guy that we’re welcoming here from the East Coast at Providence College, theology professor at Boston… Excuse me, at Providence College. Sorry, I almost demoted you to Boston College. I apologize [inaudible]. And theologian for Creative Planning, where Deacon Reilly works, is Dr. Terence McGoldrick, who also worked with us at the Diocese of San Diego. Dr. McGoldrick, thanks for being with us.

Terence McGoldrick:     Thank you, Cy. Yeah, those good old days with Bishop Bram. I remember them so well.

Cy Kellett:                    Yeah. Of blessed memory now. He passed recently. But you were eight years as the director of an institute that Bishop Bram founded in the diocese, which was to teach laypeople theology, basically.

Terence McGoldrick:     That’s right. We had about 1,200 students at that time, and we offered six different certificates, adult ed and also for the deacons. This is where I met Frank, in the diaconate program, which was really important to bolster the faith for our large parishes that relied so much on lay ministry. That was the goal. It was a wonderful work, and I made so many good friends in the diocese and it’s got great memories and still connections to San Diego, for that.

Cy Kellett:                    And one of those connections is with you. So, when were you ordained a deacon and did you have his Catholic morality class?

Dn. Frank Reilly:           So, I was ordained a deacon in 2003. It was four years of classes. I only got one B in those four years. And that was from Dr. McGoldrick.

Cy Kellett:                    Because he was hard. He was a hard teacher.

Terence McGoldrick:     Yeah. Don’t forget. They don’t forget.

Dn. Frank Reilly:           He’s a hard teacher, that’s for sure. But a fabulous teacher. Taught me so much. Taught the other deacons or deacon candidates in formation so much. We just have stayed connected ever since.

Cy Kellett:                    Despite the B, you hired him, kind of as your theologian to help you do this work, where the investing that you try to do, it’s Catholic-centered, Catholic-based. It’s rooted in Catholic moral thought, all of the investing that you do, the advising that you do.

Dn. Frank Reilly:           All of it is. We call it a Catholic focus on every part of your financial life. But when I wanted to start this, I knew there were going to be gray areas sometimes. So you need a good, strong theologian to help you go through those gray areas. Dr. McGoldrick and I have regular meetings to look at the different investments, look at the different offerings, and really make sure that we’re staying true to what the Catholic Church has called us to in how we deal with our finances.

Cy Kellett:                    Terry, I remember years ago, when he was pope, Pope Benedict saying that he was grateful for American hospitals, Catholic hospitals because so much of the Church’s reflection on innovations in bioethics could be enhanced because these hospitals had actual experience of what’s going on here. They could give a actual description of what’s happening to human bodies so that ethical evaluations could be made. Do we have anything like that in the field of financial ethics? Or is that what Deacon Frank is doing? Is this a trailblazing effort?

Terence McGoldrick:     Well, in some ways, yes. But also, there are longtime existing institutional funds for Catholic orders. Christian Brothers has a very large one. The USCCB has issued guidelines for its own financial investments as well as for other Catholic institutions. But these are more general.

                                    What Frank and I are doing is much more focused, and we actually look closely at each one of these. We are more stringent in our criteria than those. Just to give you an idea, they will allow 20% investment in businesses that might violate in some way our Catholic social teaching or values provided that they advocate for change. So, they’ll allow a 20% provided that they can, through proxy voting and other instruments, advocate for change in those policies. Whereas we don’t do that. We are limiting ourselves to investments that promote good work, good valuable human products, and good wealth. Those are the principles that come from the Vocation of the Business Leader. That’s a document out of the Dicastery for Integral Human Development that Pope Francis created.

Cy Kellett:                    So, there are sources that you can draw on, but they’re not necessarily sources that have worked extensively with laypeople in helping them arrange their finances?

Dn. Frank Reilly:           I think that’s the difference and where we are a bit of a trailblazer. A lot of the institutions that are out there only deal with institutional, you know, a whole order or a whole diocese. Where we’re really trailblazing is that we’re not just talking about investing. We’re talking about every aspect of your financial life: helping people with charitable giving, helping people with end-of-life decisions, helping people with a living trust and putting a Catholic focus on every single angle.

Cy Kellett:                    Including maybe as an employer? Would an employer have considerations as far as the Church teaching on the treatment of employees, for example? Could you help someone with that?

Dn. Frank Reilly:           That would be more of an ethics class, the kind of thing that Dr. McGoldrick would do. It wouldn’t necessarily be what we would do.

Cy Kellett:                    It’s just so much. I mean, the financial world, I think the way I come at it, and even hearing you talk about it, it’s such a complex world, from the banking to the investing to the stocks and the bonds. It seems baffling. How do you get in there and apply responsible Catholic ethics in such a complex environment?

Dn. Frank Reilly:           Well, I actually wanted to start doing this Catholic focus, this idea, 20 some years ago, but the amount of research that it takes to screen deep enough on a company just wasn’t available. It’s only through some recent new programs, that have come out that can truly do a Catholic screening, that made this possible. Because, yes, you’re going to care about what do they produce, what are they selling? But you’re also going to have to look at where is their involvement with their money? Who do they give money to? You can’t ignore that. In fact, what causes do they support? You can’t ignore those aspects. It was only through this new technology that has made it possible for us to go to the level that Dr. McGoldrick and I think is the only real responsible answer. To go partway, to allow 20%? That, just to me, isn’t a true Catholic idea. It’s either a yes or a no.

Cy Kellett:                    Yeah. I don’t know a lot of these companies, but say there’s a company that you’re interested in, Amazon or something, and there’s a software that you can run on Amazon that tells you what their business is, what they’re actually doing and selling, but also where they’re contributing money and what they’re paying for with the…

Dn. Frank Reilly:           Yeah. What this program does is it takes every single public information, every filing that they do with the SEC, every letter to shareholders, every press release, anything that the company puts out there at all, they completely go through and diagnose everything about the company.

Cy Kellett:                    Okay. Terry, I’ll ask you this. When you’re looking at those kinds of reports, what are the things in the modern world that you’re looking for that you say, “No, a Catholic should not be involved in that”? Or maybe where the line would go the other way where you’d say… Well, there may be some. Not every company’s going to do everything perfectly, so where’s the line that says, “Yes, this is an acceptable investment”?

Terence McGoldrick:     That’s a good question, Cy, because that’s where there’s always going to be some gray area that needs closer examination and what this program provides. One example would be, Frank mentioned philanthropy. The USSCB says the greatest threat for the Church in America is freedom of conscience or religious liberty. That’s because over a dozen dioceses have shut down their adoption services, for example, because they’ve been forced to adopt to same-sex couples. The Church does believe the child should have a mother and a father. So any company that would be, for example, pushing for laws that would force the Church to do that, we would disqualify. Okay? So there’s [inaudible]

Cy Kellett:                    Oh, okay. Yeah. So you got a company… I see… advocating for laws that essentially are oppressive of the Church. But I have to say, that’s kind of a granular detail that most of us would miss completely.

Terence McGoldrick:     Yeah. See, those are the kind of things we’re looking for, though. We’re also looking for companies that, say, would not invest in dirty coal, for example, or that would be another thing that would disqualify, or anything to do with abortion. The trouble is you’ve got companies that provide really important services like medicines, but they might also provide something that would disqualify them. So, these are the kind of things that we look for when we dig deeper than this first screening. Now, I also want to say we don’t only look for the ones that we would exclude. We also look for companies that have good practices, like consistently win ethics awards and treat their employees well. This is another whole aspect of Catholic social thought is…

Cy Kellett:                    I see.

Terence McGoldrick:     … the justice in the workplace.

Cy Kellett:                    Okay. So can you, in a practical way, make a profit or make the… I guess that’s what it’s about, profit, for the person who’s investing, using these screenings? Or do you handicap yourself so much that that becomes impossible?

Dn. Frank Reilly:           Absolutely not. There’s a lot of companies that have been doing this for years, some of the public mutual funds. If you go and you look at what they’ve been doing, it’s actually not making that much of an impact on performance. It’s going to be very, very similar to, like if you just say you, take any typical large cap mutual fund and compare it to the Catholic large cap mutual funds, you’re going to see over 10 years almost no difference in performance at all. Because it’s not like you’re screening out 50% of your options. It’s a pretty small number that actually gets screened out because the big picture is what you’re looking to avoid, abortion, pornography, nuclear weapons, anti-personnel landmines, that’s kind of the big picture. Well, most companies don’t come anywhere close to that. It’s only those fewer companies that go to the point where they’ll give money directly to Planned Parenthood. That’s an automatic out, if they give money directly to Planned Parenthood. But I would bet it is less than 3% of the companies that end up getting screened out.

Cy Kellett:                    Oh. All right. I’m very glad to hear you give me a practical number like that because, in my imagination, this was a huge number of companies, but about 3% you’re going to just say no to?

Dn. Frank Reilly:           I’d call it 3-5 to be cautious.

Cy Kellett:                    Then how often does it change, where you look at a company and you think very well of them, and then something happens there?

Dn. Frank Reilly:           Quarter by quarter, it can change.

Cy Kellett:                    Is that what it is? Really? Quarter by quarter?

Dn. Frank Reilly:           Yeah. A new filing comes out and you find out that they did give money to Planned Parenthood. It’s not very often that what they’re selling would change. Where you have to be most cautious on that is anybody in the medical field, whether it’s devices for abortion or the morning-after pill, where a pharmaceutical company maybe wasn’t in that market and now they’ve gotten into that market. Most of the quarter by quarter changes end up being either their philanthropy or what they’re promoting.

Cy Kellett:                    Mm-hmm. So, all of a sudden they wrote a big check to Planned Parenthood, for example, and then you’re out of business with them.

Dn. Frank Reilly:           Right. So if your portfolio is 40 stocks, you got to rerun that report every quarter for 40 stocks.

Cy Kellett:                    It seems to me that when you talk about the ethics of warfare or medical ethics, these are two areas where lots of people listen to the Catholic Church who are not Catholic because it’s a 2,000-year tradition of thinking these things through, having standards and all that. Are there people listening to the Catholic Church on this? Or is this a Catholic niche right now, and it’ll have to develop into something where the Church has something that the world is willing to bend an ear to?

Terence McGoldrick:     Well, I would say that there’s a new interest in ESGs, which are funds that are ecologically and socially responsible, triple bottom line. But right now, Cy, that is very nebulous. Nobody really knows how to define ESGs. The Church does have some pretty clear criteria about social justice and the role of business in society. I mentioned true human goods. So, the idea of true human goods, what is a true human good? It’s something that’s going to contribute to real human welfare, and not maybe luxury or unnecessary type of super consumerism, as Pope John Paul II called it. I think that there is this real guidance. I can’t answer if society is listening, but I don’t know the number, so probably hundreds of billions of dollars in Catholic investment funds in these large, you name it. Catholic Relief Services has a huge fund. These orders all have funds, and they’re all under management, and they’re generally abiding by these principles. We’re just curating this a lot more closely than these other ones, I would say.

Dn. Frank Reilly:           I would caution people that investing in an ESG fund is not Catholic investing.

Cy Kellett:                    Explain that to me. How’s that work?

Dn. Frank Reilly:           Just take the social part of it. What one person thinks or one person running a fund is socially responsible, somebody on the other side could take the exact opposite idea. There’s no definitive criteria on that. Also, any ESG fund will never look at the philanthropy of the company that they’re putting into the portfolio. I’m not saying ESGs are bad. I’m just saying they’re not Catholic investing.

Cy Kellett:                    Right. They may actually have a lower standard in the sense that they haven’t thought through these issues in a fully Catholic way.

Dn. Frank Reilly:           Correct.

Cy Kellett:                    Yeah. Yeah. Okay. So, I got to tell you both. I’m just going to confess to you right now, I’ve been working for the Catholic Church most of my life. Don’t have a lot of money. Don’t have a lot of time to figure out what to do with the money. But we have options that we can choose in our… What do you call it? 401k, right? I think it’s a 401k. So you can put the money here, put the money there. Actually, they have these ones where you could just pick a date: “I’m going to retire at this date.” How does someone like me, who’s financially fairly close to illiterate, doesn’t have a lot of money or time for research, how do I invest as a Catholic or how do I participate in these markets as a Catholic?

Dn. Frank Reilly:           Well, first of all, you have to understand generally everybody’s 401k is made up of either mutual funds or ETFs. Well, you can’t do the Catholic criteria on those. The only way you can do a Catholic criteria is if you have a portfolio of individual stocks where you can look at each and every individual stock. What a Catholic could do, whose most of their money is in a 401k, and most of everybody’s retirement money is in a 401k or a 403B, you can push your employer to add some of the Catholic mutual funds or Catholic ETFs that are out there. You’re not going to get a real thorough deep-dive, like…

Cy Kellett:                    Like what you do.

Dn. Frank Reilly:           … what we’re doing, but it’s better than nothing. So I would say go to your employer, push them, say, “I’d like to get some Catholic options included in this,” which there really isn’t a reason they should say no to that.

Cy Kellett:                    No. And they haven’t here. Catholic Answers. We have those available to us.

Dn. Frank Reilly:           So, that’s certainly a first step. But then if you go to that next step of money outside of a retirement plan, where you can build a portfolio of individual stocks, we’re not the only ones doing this. There’s a lot of other people, a lot of other money managers that are kind of doing the same thing. I’m just saying that I believe that the decisions that Dr. McGoldrick and I have made really go much, much deeper. My best example, I’m not going to name names, but a large company that you can do internet searching with. Most Catholic mutual funds own that company. But what do you think the number one way people find pornography is? That company.

Cy Kellett:                    That company. Yeah.

Dn. Frank Reilly:           Right? Now, that’s a very indirect involvement, but we won’t own that company. That’s where I’m talking about really taking your Catholic faith to the finest point on your investing to know I’m not violating, in any way, any part of my Catholic faith, and in some ways I’m trying to do good with the investing because there’s two parts to what the USCCB has asked anybody with Catholic investing to do: avoid the bad, but do some good. That’s where Terry was talking about looking at companies that have regularly won ethics awards. They’re doing good. Within the environmental sense, you can say, okay, let’s look at some of the companies that are doing great things with solar power or other energy alternatives, and do good for the environment and avoid the evil. So, you can actually have both parts to the portfolio.

Cy Kellett:                    So, a person can come to you and say, “I’d like you to manage my money, but I want to do so in a Catholic way.” And they can be heavily involved in that or relatively lightly involved, they can entrust it to you and they’ll be able to have the competence, “I’m not investing in pornography”?

Dn. Frank Reilly:           Right. And no one wants to. No good Catholic should want to. But normally, when you hire a money manager, you’re basically saying, “I’m going to trust you to follow the criteria that I give you.” So, if somebody comes and says, “I want the Catholic way,” well, they can be assured that they’re going to get that through their entire portfolio. Plus, again, I don’t want to sidestep those other important parts.

                                    A great part is the trust that you have a lawyer draw up for you. I was very lucky that I recently had my trust redone by a Catholic attorney, and I had told him, “I really want my Catholic faith within here.” I loved what he gave back to me. My trust actually says that if I am dying, they should do the Viata Cu Mass, the Mass that is done for somebody who is dying, and they should bring in a priest for that. It even goes so far as to say, at the hour of my death, I want people to be praying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.

Cy Kellett:                    Wow!

Dn. Frank Reilly:           And that’s in my trust in the healthcare directive. So, any doctor who gets that can’t say no. They have to allow these things to happen. It’s the guidepost for my family in a difficult time of what is it that dad wants as he may be dying? Well, right here, and it’s written for you.

Cy Kellett:                    I guess the impression that I’m getting, then, is I can get into the world of finance and just ignore all of this and be like a wrecking ball, just make money wherever or lose money or whatever. I’d probably lose money, but other people would make money. But the distance from that to responsible, ethical, even kind of god-fearing investing is not such a great distance. It’s not like the whole world is changed for that investor. It’s be careful about a certain number of things, and you can participate in the market. You’re not, as a Catholic, just excluded from this whole thing.

Terence McGoldrick:     No. That’s what Frank was saying. The difference, if you want to call it the ethical cost, of these funds is negligible considering the good that you’re doing. That’s, I think, the approach that you want to do. So, you can give your money to some good cause. But what I like about this is you can also invest in a way that you actually retain ownership of your own money and you’re providing things in society, supporting things in society that align with your value.

Cy Kellett:                    Could you give me an example, like maybe… I’m trying to think of an example of a company that I might invest in that is a going concern; it’s a good company, but it’s also something that would be promoting the truly human, as you said before. Can you give me an example?

Terence McGoldrick:     Well, like medicine, for example, would be something that would be that. You could also talk about the things Frank mentioned for sustainable management of food, agriculture, fisheries, things like that, forestry. Those are all examples of things that are really kind of important for the health of the Earth and the planet. Or you could think about… Oh, let’s see. Frank, what are some of the things we have? For example, you might think of companies that are providing services, they call it the care economy, human services. That’s another dimension we’ve got. But even communication, that’s a true human good. It’s a broad, broad spectrum of things, but other things, luxury products and things like that, less so. That’s [inaudible]

Cy Kellett:                    That’s so funny because I think that many people wouldn’t think of that one. When you say, well, we’re not investing in companies that produce nuclear weapons, I’m like, “All right. Okay. You’re not exactly moral geniuses to come up with that one.” But if you’re avoiding the consumerist mentality where a lot of money is made just by selling handbags that cost as much as somebody’s house or car or something like that. But you avoid that, why? What’s your thing? I think a good American libertarian will say to you, “Hey, it’s their money, let them do what they want. They want to spend it on this bag, then why shouldn’t I profit from that?”

Terence McGoldrick:     Well, sure, that’s true. But when you think about where the money’s not going, when it does go to what Pope John II called super development or feeding that consumerism, and if you have a choice to put it towards something, and nobody says you don’t, but if you have a choice to put it towards something like that, a luxury superfluous good versus something that’s a true human good, we want to invest in that. And don’t forget, when you do invest in those companies, you’re also investing in them furthering that by producing maybe a better version of medicine or care.

Dn. Frank Reilly:           There’s another way that you can do good. It’s really the third piece in the document the USCCB put out about investing. That third piece is governance, helping corporations with their governance. This is something for an individual investor that is almost impossible to do because if you own 20 shares of some company, they don’t really care about you. But when you get into larger-size companies, you can start to put together ideas for the company and submit them to the company to consider at the next board meeting.

                                    More than that, I’ve had a conversation with the dean of the business school at Catholic University, and they’re going to try to set up something where they find all of the Catholic or Christian money managers and now pull us all together to go to fight for a good cause to put into the governance that every employee will at least have a living wage and what that number is and do things that way. Now, all of us together would have such a strong voice to say, “We want to see you do this,” or it could be, “We’ve seen in the past that you have given money; we want you to say you’ll never give money to them again.” And you can start then to influence the corporation.

Cy Kellett:                    If you get enough people doing what you’re doing, in other words, doing Catholic or other Christian investing, then maybe that group altogether owns 10% of the company or 15 or…

Dn. Frank Reilly:           It may not be that much. It needs to be more than 10 or 20 shares. If it’s multiple shareholders, and then the second stage that you can actually go to, that I hope this ends up happening, is we’ll specifically find a company that’s in violation, have everybody buy a little bit with the goal of we’re going to get them to change this. If they don’t change it, you end up selling the stock. But now, not just talking about the stocks you do own, but even looking at stocks that are good with a few minor exceptions, let’s see if we can get them to change those minor exceptions.

Cy Kellett:                    So, this is another reason to actually be thoughtful about investing. I know you’re not just trying to drum up business. There’s lots of people, you said, doing this. But to go with those kind of investment houses, those kinds of money managers, in time, that creates kind of what Warren Buffet maybe would call the snowball effect, I don’t know, where now you’re actually part of a movement that’s actually making… You’re not just saying, “Well, my money’s over here and it’s not doing any damage and it’s doing some good,” but you’re saying, all of this money is in a movement that’s moving towards a more just and reasonable world.

Terence McGoldrick:     I also like the idea of bringing Catholic U and other universities in, becomes a learning experience for student participation in this really important sector of our economy and to think about companies this way. I think it’s an important shift going on, too, in companies. I’ve been teaching business ethics in the MBA school for about a decade. The conference board, which is about 500 CEOs of top US companies that advise the US government, in 2020, they changed first time ever the purpose of a corporation to be, instead of benefiting shareholders, return on investment, to benefiting all stakeholders. So, I think there’s also a change going on in our social consciousness, in corporations as well as in the rest of society, that successful companies are not only focused on short-term returns, but the whole value to society that they contribute. That’s a sea change.

Cy Kellett:                    It is a sea change. It seems to me that it’s controversial in the sense that there’s some people who will be like… I mean, there’s a good opposition to that. I don’t mean good, but a significant opposition to that, where people say, “No, the purpose of a company is to make money for the investors,” and there’s not a sense of a company as a thing that’s integrated into the whole of society and has social responsibilities. As a matter of fact, I think there’s pretty strong resistance to that, wouldn’t you say?

Dn. Frank Reilly:           Well, I think that what you see here is, if you think about it, when you’re talking about a large corporation, it seems to be something much bigger than an individual. But if you were to say, okay, as a Catholic, you own this company; you would care about all of those things. If you’re running your own company and you’re all about only profit for yourself, well, you’re going to be paying terrible wages to your employees. You’re not going to be offering benefits to your employees. You’re going to be doing a lot of things just to enhance your own wealth. No good Catholic is going to say, “That’s the way I would run my own company.” And now extrapolate that, and you can say, “Yeah, I think that should be the way every company is run.”

Cy Kellett:                    Yeah. Terry, you were going to say something about that, too?

Terence McGoldrick:     Yeah, definitely. I think that the employees care about that. The customers care about that, and the shareholders also care more and more about that.

Cy Kellett:                    Yeah. Yeah. I guess before we end, I would like to ask you this: In your experience, the two of you, what are some of the errors that Catholics make in the investing of their money? Where are we making mistakes? Maybe you’ve already covered them, but I think people would like to come away with some sense of, what can I do better? Given that you both have reflected on this a great deal.

Dn. Frank Reilly:           It’s not that they’re doing or making errors. They’re not even thinking about it. I would say 98% of Catholics never even think about their investing and how their Catholic faith should affect that investing. So, what we really want to do is just get Catholics to think about it. That’s the first step. If you finally look at it and you say, “Okay, as a Catholic, I want to be careful with my investing,” well, there’s lots of people who can help you do that, but you have to have that thought first.

Cy Kellett:                    I see.

Dn. Frank Reilly:           And most Catholics don’t have that thought. We’re hoping, through podcasts like this and other work that we’re doing, we can cause Catholics to stop, think about it, and then take some action.

Cy Kellett:                    Terry?

Terence McGoldrick:     Yeah. I think most of us feel kind of powerless to these big, big things going on in society. This is one way, like your vote, that you can put your money to good use and in line with the principles that you live and believe in, and at least, if nothing else, make sure that they’re not going against those principles unwittingly.

Cy Kellett:                    It does sound like now, today, in the 2020s, there’s a lot more. It seems like you’ve founded some of that yourself. You’ve created that yourself, but you’ve also discovered it, that there’s a lot more resources available to the person who does want their Catholic Christian faith to come into the pocketbook, as…

Dn. Frank Reilly:           There are lots of options now. Where 20 years ago, you had one or two large corporations doing Catholic mutual funds, now you actually have a lot of money managers who do that, a lot of mutual fund options. There’s even now some ETFs that do it. Again, I don’t think the ETFs can go to the degree that you need to go to, but it’s a…

Cy Kellett:                    But it’s a start.

Dn. Frank Reilly:           It’s better than nothing.

Cy Kellett:                    Yeah. Right. I take your point. If you’re not thinking about it, you’re not going to make any progress. Because I do think we tend to have, and I don’t know, I guess all of us, maybe we can compartmentalize. There is a thing about I love God and I want to be a good Christian, but don’t touch my money. Do you know what I’m saying? I think we’re capable. We’re quite capable of that.

Dn. Frank Reilly:           I wouldn’t say people are specifically saying, “I love God, but don’t touch my money.” They love God. But again, they don’t think about how their faith should influence every aspect of their life. Catholics make choices off of their faith, on maybe even what city they live in, what school they would send their children to, what kind of profession they want to work in. So, Catholics do have their faith involved in a lot of aspects of their life. And now we’re just saying, let’s go one step further.

Cy Kellett:                    Yeah. What’s exciting about it, I really liked the part where you make the point that if Catholics will do that, it can actually bring extraordinary good to the rest of society, if Catholics will just think about it a little bit.

Terence McGoldrick:     Well, I like the way Robert Wright puts it. He says, “All of us have all these multiple roles in society. We’re workers; we’re fathers; we’re consumers; we’re community members. But two have really eclipsed all the others in modern life: the consumer and the investor.” These decisions that we make and where we put our money and what we choose to buy really do shape, not only our economy, but the shape of success or failure of other economies around the world. That’s something that we don’t think about very often, of how the world that we live in kind of does really depend upon these decisions that we make in a larger way, really, than ever before.

Cy Kellett:                    I really appreciate both of you coming in. I am curious about this. Have you ever been surprised? Have you ever thought, here’s a company that you as a money manager are like, “This looks like a great investment for my investors. Let me take a quick look at this,” perfunctory look or whatnot. But then you’re like, “Wait a minute. I can’t invest with them”? You have been surprised.

Dn. Frank Reilly:           Oh, yes.

Cy Kellett:                    Really?

Dn. Frank Reilly:           Many, many times because of that look at the philanthropy and what they promote. That’s where you find most of the surprises.

Cy Kellett:                    Terry McGoldrick, Dr. Terrence McGoldrick is a professor of theology at Providence College. Thanks very much, Dr. McGoldrick. Terry.

Terence McGoldrick:     Enjoyed it very much, Dr. Kellett.

Cy Kellett:                    Well, he promoted me to doctor. I hope we’ll do it again. Deacon Frank Reilly, the founder of Reilly Financial Advisors, now a part of Creative Planning. Thank you very much, deacon.

Dn. Frank Reilly:           It was my pleasure. Thank you.

Cy Kellett:                    Yeah, it’s exciting stuff that you’re doing. I hope as these financial questions come up, we can use you as a resource again, because it’s fascinating stuff.

Dn. Frank Reilly:           I’m here. I’m local. Call me whenever you’d like.

Cy Kellett:                    Okay. All right. All right. Thank you both, and thank you to all of our listeners. We do appreciate that you spend this time with us here at Catholic Answers Focus. If you’d like to send us a message, maybe there’s something that you heard you’d like to respond to, maybe you have a suggestion for a future program, you can always reach us by email,

                                    Wherever you’re watching or listening, if you’d give us that five-star review, maybe a few nice words, that will help to grow the podcast. Maybe share this podcast with a friend or a family member.

                                    And we got to talk about money. If you’d like to support us financially, you can go to, Remember that there is a $1 million limit. Do not give more than $1 million. But any amount up to that, we will take. I’m Cy Kellett, your host. We’ll see you next time, God willing, right here on Catholic Answers Focus.

Narrator:                      Creative Planning’s Catholic focus offering strives to follow the guidelines set forth by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. Please note that different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk and there is no assurance that past performance will be indicative of future results.

Did you like this content? Please help keep us ad-free
Enjoying this content?  Please support our mission!