(Vatican Radio) A international coalition of Catholic institutions has announced its divestment from polluting fossil fuels. The institutions are located on five continents, ranging from the Franciscan convent in Assisi, through dioceses and bishops conferences, to Catholic banking groups.
The announcement from the Global Catholic Climate Movement was made on Tuesday, ahead of the feast of St Francis and during the month long Season of Creation marked by many Christian Churches and communities.
Divestment of over $5 trillion
It’s the largest joint declaration of divestment by Catholic organizations to date, based on the “shared value of environmental protection and the financial wisdom of preparing for a carbon-neutral economy”. The total value of all the entities that have divested around the world to date amounts to more than 5 trillion dollars.
Convent and town council
In Assisi, three institutions, including the Franciscan convent, the local diocese and a Catholic medical centre, plus the municipal government have agreed to divest from fossil fuels.
Bishops and dioceses
The bishops in Belgium have joined the coalition, becoming the first Catholic episcopal conference in the world to divest. In South Africa, the Catholic Archdiocese of Cape Town has also joined, investing in social and ethical funds instead.
These spiritual leaders are joined by business leaders, including a Catholic bank in Germany which is divesting from coal, tar sands oil, and oil shale, a move which it says is “both morally imperative and fiscally responsible”. The bank is joined by a Belgian ecumenical financial institute which is one of the world’s largest sources of private funding for microfinance.