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What to Know About Investing in a Catholic Fund

Catholic-oriented funds operate differently but can still be profitable, said George Schwartz, president and CEO of Ave Maria Funds.

The Ave Maria Catholic Values Fund started in 2001, and now has six different funds, with different investment objectives. The five-star-rated Ave Maria Rising Dividend Fund has been around since 2005 and has had double-digit return on average, Schwartz said.

The fund has a Catholic advisory board that asks portfolio managers to screen out companies that support pornography, stem-cell research and abortion, which includes Planned Parenthood. It screens out entertainment companies and hotel companies that show pornography, and most of the drug companies and some insurance companies that pay for abortions.

"Abortion is the big one," Schwartz said. "It's the focus of 50,000 shareholders who are pro-life and pro-family."

Still, he said, "We don't screen out things that the so-called socially responsible funds focus on," such as companies that are deemed to be polluters, tobacco, firearms and alcohol.

About 150 companies have been screened out, but "2,850 companies are left and produce excellent investment results for shareholders," Schwartz said.