- Human Rights
"Promotion of the full complement of human rights and religious liberty has been and remains a central priority for our conference...the maintenance of peace and the progress of authentic democracy in the world will require enhancing the priority in US foreign policy of human rights, especially of the poor, women and vulnerable children, and improving international arrangements for their enforcement." (The Harvest of Justice Sown in Peace, 1993) "In each of these countries, foreign corporations-American, European, Asian, and others reap large profits from diamonds and oil while too often demonstrating little concern for the negative impact their activities may have on peace stability, human rights, and the environment. As part of this exchange for natural resources, individuals, multinational corporations, and foreign governments have provided arms to African governments and non-governmental entities resulting in further instability and deeper human suffering." ( A Call to Solidarity with Africa, p. 17) "Catholics managing U.S. and multinational corporations bear a special responsibility in the exercise of their professional obligations, particularly where the activities of their corporations might exacerbate conflict, corruption, human rights abuses, and environmental degradation in Africa. They could play a central role in helping to promote prosperous and just economics in Africa." ( A Call to Solidarity with Africa, p. 30) Policy USCCB will actively promote and support shareholder resolutions directed towards protecting and promoting human rights. For example, USCCB could join efforts to influence corporations that are engaged in extractive industries or are operating in countries with significant human rights concerns. Additional Policy Recommendations USCCB will use selected shareholder resolutions and other means to encourage companies to provide sufficient wages, working conditions and other social benefits that enable their employees and families to met basic human needs. USCCB will seek means to encourage efforts by companies to promote a respect for fundamental human rights, especially in those countries in which these companies operate that have documented practices that deny or violate the human rights of their citizens.
- Racial Discrimination
"Discrimination based on the accidental fact of race or color, and as such injurious to human rights regardless of personal qualities or achievements, cannot be reconciled with the truth that God has created all men with equal rights and equal dignity." (Discrimination and Christian Conscience, n. 11.) "Racism is a sin: a sin that divides the human family, blots out the image of God among specific members of that family, and violates the fundamental human dignity of those called to be children of the same Father." (Brothers and Sisters To Us, n. 9.) "Discrimination in job opportunities or income levels on the basis of race, sex, or other arbitrary standards can never be justified." (Economic Justice For All, n. 73.) Policy USCCB will divest from those companies whose policies are found to be discriminatory against people of varied ethnic and racial backgrounds that have been historically disadvantaged.. Additional Policy Recommendations USCCB will actively promote and support shareholder resolutions directed towards equal opportunities for minorities. USCCB as a shareholder will actively work for the inclusion of minorities on corporate boards.
- Gender Discrimination
"Since women are becoming ever more conscious of their human dignity, they will not tolerate being treated as mere material instruments, but demand rights befitting a human person both in domestic and public life." (Pope John XXIII, Pacem in terris, n. 41) "Forms of social or cultural discrimination in basic personal rights on the grounds of sex, race, color, social conditions, language or religion must be curbed and eradicated as incompatible with God's design." ( Gaudium et spes, n. 29.) "We also urge that women should have their own share of responsibility and participation in the community life of society and likewise of the Church." (1971 Synod of Bishops, Justice in the World, III/4.) "The concrete and historical situation of women...is weighed down by the inheritance of sin . . . . This inheritance is expressed in habitual discrimination against women in favor of men." ( Mulieris Dignitatem, n. 14) "Vigorous action should be undertaken to remove barriers to full and equal employment for women" ( Economic Justice for All, n. 199.) Policy The USCCB will divest from those companies whose policies are found to be discriminatory against women. Additional Policy Recommendations The USCCB will direct its investment advisors to invest in companies that actively promote corporate policies on equal pay and promotion opportunities for women, and accommodation of legitimate family needs. The USCCB will exercise its responsibility as shareholder to promote the active participation of women in the life of the company, particularly in terms of policy and decision-making, and inclusion in corporate leadership positions.
- Access to Pharmaceuticals (e.g. HIV/AIDS)
"Most [Africans] lack access to health services or safe drinking water. Malaria, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, and other communicable diseases threaten to wipe out as much as one-quarter of the populations of some African countries over the next twenty years." ( A Call to Solidarity with Africa, p. 13) We also urge the international community and major pharmaceutical companies to respond more effectively to the needs of AIDS patients in poor countries "so that these men and women, tired in body and soul, may have access to the medicines they need." ( A Call to Solidarity with Africa, p. 21) Policy USCCB will encourage companies to undertake or participate in programs designed to make life-sustaining drugs available to those in low-income communities and countries at reduced, affordable prices, consistent with our Catholic values. Additional Policy Recommendations USCCB will actively encourage and support shareholder resolutions directed towards making life-sustaining drugs more available and affordable to low-income communities and nations.
- Curbing Pornography
"Pornography itself, which denies the dignity which God gives each human being. This kind of 'entertainment'...blocks the moral and emotional development of those who are lured into its use...At this level we are dealing with what is usually referred to in legal terms as obscenity and indecency." " Soft-core pornography (sometimes described as erotic rather than obscene) which is readily available in several forms. Some R-rated movies [which] are only marginally less offensive than X-rated films." "Material which, while not usually identified as either hard core or soft core, is disturbing because it seems to pervasively present, offering portrayals of sex in a frivolous and titillating manner." ( Renewing the Mind of the Media, pg. 109)
Policy The USCCB will not invest in a company whose
purpose is to appeal to a prurient interest in sex or to incite sexual
excitement. In addition, we will take every means to avoid participation
in investments related to the same. Additional Policy Recommendation The USCCB will promote and support initiatives, including in some cases, shareholder resolutions, to promote responsible and family-oriented program content development by media companies.