Fossil fuel investments go from over 300 Catholic portfolios

Fossil fuel investments are officially off numerous Catholic groups’ financial portfolio lists.

Catholic groups around the globe are divesting their financial interests in fossil fuels.

Their decision came hours before the European Union voted to ratify the Paris Agreement.

The Agreement sets up the global accord to address climate change to enter into force.

Divestment pledges came from groups in Brazil, Hong Kong, Canada, the US, Italy, Australia and Papua New Guinea.

Jesuit Fr. Peter Bisson, provincial of the Jesuits in English Canada says climate change is already affecting poor and marginalized communities globally.

They are experiencing drought, rising sea levels, famine and extreme weather.

“We are called to take a stand,” Bisson said.

English Canadian Jesuits will halt future investments in fossil fuels.

They will remove them from their current portfolio within five years.

Umuarama Bishop João Mamede called divestment “a practical way to achieve” what Pope Francis calls for in “Laudato Si’, on Care for Our Common Home.”

“We can not accommodate and continue allowing economic interests that seek exorbitant profits before the well being of people …” he said.

He pointed out these economic interests destroy biodiversity and ecosystems.

He also said “… we can’t continue dictating our energy model based on fossil fuels.”

One U.S. institution, SSM Health Care, with 20 hospitals in four states, said it will divest its funds from coal.

Founded by the Franciscan Sisters of Mary, SSM is among the 10 largest Catholic hospital systems in the country.

SSM Health has joined the Healthier Hospitals Initiative.

This involves committing to increase recycling, reduce medical waste, and cut energy use by 3 percent.

The joint divestment announcement, coordinated by the Global Catholic Climate Movement.

It has a network of 300-plus organizations worldwide.

Earlier this year, the Movement formed a working group on divestment.

Their aim was to help Catholic dioceses, congregations and organizations explore the feasibility of such a financial step.


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