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Catholic Fund

Catholic Equity Fund debuted on April 2, tracks the S&P 500 but excludes companies in the index that do not adhere to pro-life beliefs. The fund will also push for workplace improvements at the companies it invests in, whether it is for better pay, fair compensation or financial accountability.

The Catholic Funds recently merged three of its small equity funds to create Catholic Equity Fund. The three merged funds are: Catholic Equity Income; Catholic Large Cap Growth and Catholic Disciplined Capital Appreciation. The three were among the top three of their categories in the last 12 months but all were tiny in size, with less than $7 million in assets each, according to Morningstar. All three were less than three years old. Catholic Equity Fund, with about $15 million in assets, is more narrowly defined, excluding just six S&P 500 stocks.

The returns vary depending on the investing style, but many of the funds have held their own. The fundamentalist Noah Fund, a large value offering with $11 million in assets, is down 4.6 percent year to date as of April 22, putting it in the top third of its category, according to Morningstar. Aquinas Growth Fund, a large growth fund that adheres to Catholic teachings with about $60 million in assets, is down 1.6 percent, putting it in the top 12 percent of its group. But you will pay to invest with your religion. While the average expense ratio for a mutual fund is around 1 percent, Noah Fund charges 2.2 percent and Amana Growth charges 1.5 percent. As for Catholic Equity, Class C no load shares have annual expenses of 1.2 percent. That might not seem as bad as other religious funds, but it's leagues away from Vanguard 500 Index, which will cost you 0.18 percent.

One goal of the fund is to help avoid Enron-like catastrophes. People are upset about the abuses of the Catholic Church and in the light of the scandal, it's time for Catholics to invest accordingly.

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