Pills, Ciggies, Guns and Catholic Bankers…

It emerged this week that a Roman Catholic bank in Germany has been indulging in some rather unethical and hypocritical investments.

The Pax bank, founded in 1917 for institutions and employees in the Catholic Church, was caught red-faced when it was revealed that they had invested almost £500 000 in an arms manufacturer, almost £750 000 in tobacco companies… and even over £137 000 in shares of a US company which manufacturers the contraceptive pill.

These investments, as we well know, run exactly contrary to the beliefs of the Catholic Church, which to this day still brands all forms of contraception as sinful – something Pope Benedict has made a real point of reiterating.

If you visit the Pax website, there’s no mention that I could find of this embarrassing revelation, but you can check out their investment policy, which states:

“The Church needs excellent performance for their investments that cannot be contrary to their Christian values. Since 1917, Pax-Bank has achieved the balance between high performance and Christian values through its own philosophy: concentrating exclusively on Catholic institutions as its customers, Pax-Bank orientates its business objectives and products following Christian ideals. The entrusted capitals are invested with the Catholic Church in mind, with maximum responsibility and transparency. Investments which contravene Christian principles are excluded. This we guarantee with our name” – Source: Pax Bank

Amusingly, the intro blurb on their homepage states:

“The history of the Pax-Bank reads like a success story – and so it is. Of course, there were difficult times, but the Pax-Bank has always seen these as a challenge to take new approaches” – Source: Pax Bank

It seems they’re not wrong – when faced with the challenge of global financial meltdown, their new approach was to burn their very ideals and totally abandon their Catholic principles. It seems to engage in contraception is a sin, but profiteering from it – as well as from war – is fine.

A spokesman for Pax Bank was understandably contrite, telling the press:

“We will rectify the mistakes immediately without negative consequences for our clients. Unfortunately in a few internal reviews, the critical investments in question were overlooked – we deeply regret this”

  1. #1 by Yorkshireskeptic on August 22, 2009 - 19:23

    Quite how the Catholic Church can still be viewed as a moral institution after the past few years is beyond me, the actions and hypocrisy of their hierarchy is staggering…

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