DIFFICULT MORAL ISSUES: Anyone, including a stock trader, who lives their life in a Christian way, is of incalculable worth to the Kingdom.
Q Hello, my name is Mike from the Chicagoland area. I would like to know if he is seriously guilty of trading a stock or a stock option based on the technical study of his price action (called technical analysis), only to make a profit? I would appreciate your response. Thanks. -Mike
A. A stock is a small portion of a company’s ownership purchased with the expectation that the value of the company will increase over time and thus produce a profit for the shareholder. Assuming a company is not involved in seriously unethical practices, and assuming the money invested is not irresponsibly allocated (i.e. it should be spent on care of previous duties, such as family, etc.), to buy and trade a stock within the parameters set by law is morally licit. And doing so by using technical analysis tools to chart performance and predict future market behavior, all with the goal of making a profit, is lawful.
Perhaps your doubt stems from the question of how stock trading benefits the Kingdom. As Christians, aren’t we supposed to carry out the Great Commission in everything we do (Matthew 28:16-20)? How do I fulfill this commission by looking at charts trying to identify entry and exit points for potential trades? It’s a good question.
Not just with stock trading, but with all of our good works, Christians should ask themselves: How am I advancing the Kingdom? One might be tempted to think that only a religious answer will do: I am an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion, a reader at Sunday Mass, a member of the parish council or a volunteer at parish feasts; and while all of that is good, they miss the point of The teaching of Vatican II on the lay apostolate.
Vatican II teaches that the domain of the laity is the secula, the world, while the priest serves in the sanctuary. All spheres of secular life need the redemptive love of Jesus and the laity are called to be ambassadors of this love.
We respond to this call by discerning our personal vocations, that is to say the unique and unrepeatable projects that God has for each of us to cooperate with him in the construction of his Kingdom. This plan includes our livelihood.
Whether in the boardroom or the classroom, the office or the kitchen, the auto shop or the nursery – yes, even in front of our computers while trading stocks – we wonder how this pursuit makes sense at the light of my Christian faith. What is its potential to communicate the truth and love of God? How do I use it to confront the evil in me and in the world? How can I cooperate to advance God’s divine plan through this?
You may be wondering how this applies to stock trading. The technical details are for you to discern. But no legitimate profession is excluded, no matter how trivial. A stock trader who is honest in his dealings, benevolent despite frustrations, lenient to those who wrong him, patient with those who test him, diligent and trustworthy with his colleagues, and transparent, frank and charitable towards all – in d in other words, a trading fellow who lives his life in the way of Christ – is of incalculable value to the Kingdom. You must discern if this is where Jesus wants you, and if he does, then let him be a source of renewal.
The essence of the lay apostolate is to live a Christlike life in the marketplace, imagining Christ in the world. This has been the constant message of the Holy Spirit to the laity for the past 100 years. Bring Christ to all the dark corners of the world and make his love known!
This teaching of Vatican II is little known. Catholics still believe that being a good Catholic means doing parochial ministry or serving at the altar. Lay people need to see that everything parish work is the proper apostolate of the clergy. Vatican II certainly teaches that the laity do well to assist the priest in his apostolate.
But they have a mission of their own and that is to the world. We must move beyond the idea that what the priest does is truly holy while what the laity do is second best. Nope! If Jesus is calling me to be a husband, a father, an engineer, a tradesman, or a postman, then fulfilling my duties as a Christian—living a Christian life, being a clear witness to those around me—can be everything. as holy to me as saying Mass is for a priest.
So to repeat what I said above, discern if Jesus is calling you to trade stocks – and if He is, then be the best Christian stock trader you can be. Renew profession for Christ. Sanctify your work by dedicating it to daily Kingdom service. This goes for all livelihoods and all professions, but especially those that, like stock trading, deal directly with money, the love of which causes so many to compromise their faith (1 Timothy 6: 1).
Whether I am a scholarship holder, a garbage collector, a stay-at-home mother or a teacher, strive by the grace of God to be a imago christi in the world and witness to living faith at a desperate age – to be joyful in sorrow, faithful in discouragement, hopeful in darkness, and gentle in suffering.