High carbon energy investments divested by Catholics

High carbon energy investments are being dropped by a number of Catholic institutions and investors.

The Global Catholic Climate Movement says the news shows the growing strength of the divestment movement within the Catholic Church.

“When it comes to protecting our common home, we have not a moment to lose,” Tomas Insua, executive director of GCCM which co-ordinated the action, says.

Pledges to take money out of fossil fuels were made by 35 religious orders, lay organisations and social justice movements.

Those signed up to the move include the Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund (Sciaf), humanitarian aid organisation Caritas Internationalis, three Catholic banks and several dioceses.

Caritas Internationalis is one of the largest humanitarian organisations in the world. Several members of its executive board are directly appointed by the Holy See.

Caritas Internationalis president, Cardinal Luis Tagle, says “The poor are suffering greatly from the climate crisis and fossil fuels are among the main drivers of this injustice.”

Sciaf director Alistair Dutton echoed Caritas’s view.

“The world is facing ecological, humanitarian and moral crises as we approach the point of no return from irreversible global warming and climate chaos,” he says.

“Highly polluting fossil fuels are a major driving force behind this.

“The communities Sciaf works with in developing countries are already struggling to cope with the impact of climate change.”

Leading Catholic banks pledging to divest include Pax Bank, Bank Im Bistum Essen eG, and Steyler Ethik Bank.

In addition, the archdioceses of Luxembourg and of Salerno-Campagna-Acerno, along with the diocese of Communauté Mission de France are announcing divestments.

It is understood Secours Catholique in France plans to divest an estimated €10m, while the Catherine Donnelly Foundation will be divesting around CAN$800,000.

Several US parishes are dropping an estimated US$400,000 from their total $3m assets.

The Archbishop of Luxembourg, Jean-Claude Hollerich, says bishops are increasingly committed to making financial decisions “in line with our moral values.

“Divestment is an important way for the Church to show leadership in the context of a changing climate,” he says.

“Praise be to all those who serve ‘the least of these’ by protecting the environment.”

The 35 institutions made the pledge to coincide with international Earth Day on 22 April.

They are joining 60 Catholic organisations that have previously decided not to invest in fossil fuels.


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