Can a Good Catholic Be Wealthy? – Part IV of IV – Stocks Vs Mutual Funds

This is the last post of the 4-part series of “Can a Good Catholic Be Wealthy?” I hope by this time, I have convinced you that it is morally acceptable for a Catholic to be wealthy. Although in theory, this is not difficult to accept, there seems to be an unwritten rule against anyone making lots of money in a short span of time without actually working for it. I believe this thinking, at least in part, has stemmed from our understanding of the original curse, “Cursed be the ground because of you! In toil shall you eat its yield all the days of your life…By the sweat of your face shall you get bread to eat” (Gen 3:17, 19). Visit :- เว็บพนัน หาเงิน

The perfect example of such a way of earning income is, of course, gambling. No work is involved in gambling (unless you’re counting cards in Blackjack!). Any earnings or losses result purely from chance. Especially in fundamentalist circles, gambling is considered a sin. What does the Catholic Church say about gambling? We don’t need to look far…the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) paragraph 2413 states:

Games of chance (card games, etc.) or wagers are not in themselves contrary to justice. They become morally unacceptable when they deprive someone of what is necessary to provide for his needs and those of others. The passion for gambling risks becoming an enslavement. Unfair wagers and cheating at games constitute grave matter, unless the damage inflicted is so slight that the one who suffers it cannot reasonably consider it significant.

Therefore, the Church has exonerated gambling! Next time you win a few bucks at the casino, you don’t have to lie about it to your friends at church. The caveat is that the likelihood of gambling leading to sin cannot be underestimated. It can lure us into various sins including several of the 7 deadly sins: greed, wrath, envy, lust and even pride.

Using your imagination, you can visualize someone who has fallen or is on the verge of falling into sin because of gambling. He would have brought much of his family’s savings to the casino and lost it all, getting involved with loan sharks, lying to his wife, etc. etc. Much of this type of visualization can be transferred to someone in the stock market. It’s the year 1999 and our imaginary “investor” friend has witnessed his co-workers make a killing buying stocks like Cisco and Nortel Networks. He soon sells all of his bonds and mutual funds and buys the above mentioned stocks. At first, he sees his investment grow by 20% in a couple of months. Then, towards the end of the year 2000, his stocks begin to sink. Thinking that they would bounce back, he takes a line of credit and “averages down”, buying more. A few months later, the stocks continue to drop. This time, he re-mortgages his house and averages down even more. By the time the summer of 2002 comes around, he has lost more than 80% of his original investment and is in a ton of debt. There is very little doubt that investing in stocks has led him to sin. He has put his own well being along with his family’s into jeopardy.

This type of “investor” is among many who give true investors a bad rep. They are the ones who create a bad aura around stock investing. Thus, responsible investing, for many people (including Catholics), exclude buying individual stocks because the losses can be so great. Mutual funds have emerged to be the vehicle of choice for many. Because they invest in many stocks, chances of losing 80% of the original investment is very slim. To any responsible person, mutual funds are the way to go. It must be a way to go for Catholics as well, is it not? I will go to argue that it is not for several reasons.

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