Print Version    Email to Friend
Getting Church out of fossil fuels

MANILA (SE): Father John Leydon, the co-convener of the Global Catholic Climate Movement and its local representative in The Philippines, made an appeal to Church organisations to divest themselves of their investments in the mining and fossil fuel industry.

“These divestments are an important step toward fulfilling the promise and the call of Laudato Si’ (Praise Be: On care for our common home),” Father Leydon said.

He added that world leaders have already spoken about the need for climate action.

“The time is now,” UCAN quoted the Columban missionary as saying, adding that people must recognise the need to engage in respectful and transformative relationships with God’s creation.”

On July 16, four Catholic organisations announced they would divest themselves of their investments in coal, oil and gas in support of the case against polluting energy.

The Global Catholic Climate Movement says in a statement that the Marist Sisters in Australia, the Presentation Congregation of Queensland and Wagga Wagga and the Passionist Holy Spirit Province in Australia, New Zealand, Papua and Vietnam have all abandoned their investments in the fossil fuel industry and have decided to support initiatives for renewable energy.

Father Leydon said that the Global Catholic Climate Movement expects more Catholic organisations will follow this lead.

On the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, October 4, the Missionary Society of St. Columban said in a press release from its general council in Hong Kong that it is pledging to take steps to divest itself of its investments in the fossil fuel industry.

“In addition, we commit to putting resources into Positive Impact Investing alternatives,” the press release says.

Quoting from the society’s Policy on Socially and Environmentally Responsible Investing, the superior general, Father Kevin O’Neill, said, “Columbans have a long history of commitment to caring for the Earth as part of our missionary identity.”

He explained, “We see our Socially and Environmentally Responsible Investment policy as an important expression of that commitment and therefore are exploring ways to direct our investments towards funds which respond positively to our issue priorities, such as renewable energy, community-based microenterprise and peace initiatives.”

UCAN quoted Father Dexter Toledo, from the Ecological Justice Movement in The Philippines, as saying, “Philippine dioceses that have investments in these businesses are beginning to realise the importance of divestment, adding that several Church institutions have already sold their stocks and invested in renewable energy.

Father Sean McDonagh says, “For religious people, the aim of divestment is to bankrupt the fossil fuel industry morally, not financially. Hopefully, because of their duty to manage their resources, these companies will invest in renewable forms of energy.”

More from this section