Catholic Social Teaching in the Financial World by Kevin Ferryman

Finance is the study of money management and investments, involving many uncertainties and risks. What most people think of when they hear the term “finance” is money and Wall Street.

Working in the financial industry can cause a lot of stress because of the pressures that come along with the job. This stress can lead to a loss of morals and cause workers to make negative decisions, such as taking shortcuts with insider trading. This is taking information not available to the public, whether it is information from an employee of another company or just a friend, and using it to make investments. Insider trading is the fastest, easiest way to make money on Wall Street, but it is also the most illegal.

In addition to insider trading, stock brokers were also taking small, unsuccessful securities called “penny stocks” and selling them to Americans with a lot of money in an attempt to make as much as they possibly could. Usually Wall Street traders sell blue-chip stocks which are large, well established companies that are reliable as far as their stock price is concerned. Instead of making only a 1% commission on a blue-chip stock sale, they were now making 50% commission on penny stocks which is why they became so desirable to sell.

“People want me to tell them success stories. I understand this. They are stories you want to tell, after all. So why does my scalp tighten whenever I am asked this? Surely, part of it comes from my being utterly convinced I’m a fraud.” (Boyle, pg. 167)

In this quote, Boyle clearly states how he becomes stressed when people ask him to tell his success stories. Not only does this relate to the financial world because of the pressures to succeed and having those success stories to tell, but here Boyle also mentions how he believes himself to be a fraud and therefore has trouble telling his stories. This reminded me of insider trading. If I were a Wall Street trader and made most of my money from dealing with illegal information, I would have a hard time telling people of my “success” as well because I would know the way I did it was wrong.

When anyone buys a home, their mortgage is given a rating by an entity separate from banks and Wall Street. The ratings are AAA, AA, A, BBB, BB, and B in order from highest to lowest. The companies that give mortgage bonds their ratings would bundle a bunch of BBB, BB, and B’s together and sell them off as A’s. That way buyers would feel more confident investing in them.

When the bubble that was the housing market finally popped, the amount of newly bought homes severely decreased as seen above. This crash led to many families losing a substantial amount of money and in some cases even their homes.

During a financial crisis, such as the one in 2008, the economy is forced to switch back from technological advancements and less polluting to earlier technologies and lower-cost, more polluting fuels. This shows that financial and economic growth have a direct relationship. (Finnish...)

“One expression of this attitude is when we stop and give thanks to God before and after meals. I ask all believers to return to this beautiful and meaningful custom. That moment of blessing, however brief, reminds us of our dependence on God for life; it strengthens our feeling of gratitude for the gifts of creation; it acknowledges those who by their labours provide us with these goods; and it reaffirms our solidarity with those in greatest need.” (Laudato Si, 227)

I personally agree with Pope Francis’ statement. Taking just a moment every now and then can make the difference in someone’s day. It helps relieve stress and leads to him/her being a better, more productive worker. That moment of reflection can also help remind us that our job, money, and stress are not the only deciding factors in our lives. We have relationships with our family, friends, and God as well; we just need to take the time to remind ourselves.

“People want me to tell them success stories. I understand this. They are stories you want to tell, after all. So why does my scalp tighten whenever I am asked this? Surely, part of it comes from my being utterly convinced I’m a fraud.” (Boyle, pg. 167)

The most common theme in books, movies, articles, etc. about finance is money. It makes sense, being that it is what finance is based around. Many people will do anything to make as much money as they possibly can. They disregard morals and the common good just to get ahead. Referring back to Pope Francis' quote, taking a moment to reflect can help someone realize the mistakes they are making and hopefully guide them back on track if they lost their way.

Works Cited

Boyle, Gregory. Tattoos on the Heart. 2010.

Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE). “Environmental Impacts of the Financial Crisis

Evident.” Sciencedaily.com, 5 Feb. 2014,


Groves, Thomas. “What Is Stressful About a Career on Wall Street?” Quora.com, 13 Nov. 2015,


Francis. Encyclical Letter Laudato Si' of the Holy Father Francis: on Care for Our Common Home.

Vatican Press, 2015.

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.