Today seven Catholic institutions from all over the world announced that they are divesting from fossil fuels, adding significant momentum to the Divest The Vatican campaign. We are calling on Catholics all over the world to help seize this moment.1

Pope Francis has been voicing his concerns about climate change and the fossil fuel industry since the release of his Encyclical, Laudato Si’, last year. Vatican officials have even acknowledged the call for fossil fuel divestment. But so far they have not committed to divesting the Vatican from fossil fuels.

But today’s announcement shows that we don’t need to wait for The Vatican: every Catholic institution can show the moral courage and leadership of divesting.

The moral case for divestment couldn’t be clearer: if it’s wrong to wreck the planet, then it’s wrong to profit from that wreckage. That call resonated with people all over the world who responded to the call by starting campaigns in their communities. Hundreds of institutions globally have divested from fossil fuels thanks to the work of ordinary people stepping up and organising to get their institutions out of fossil fuels.

Last week new numbers from our friends at Oil Change International highlighted just how urgent and necessary fossil fuel divestment is. The report found that the carbon emissions from the oil, gas and coal just in the world’s currently operating fields and mines would increase our planet’s temperature beyond 2°C by the end of this century. And yet fossil fuel companies are still trying to open new fossil fuel reserves. The fossil fuel industry is in fundamental conflict with a safe climate and we urgently need to make a strong moral stand against them.

We are calling on Catholics to start a divestment campaign in their Catholic diocese, university, school, hospital or other institution. The divestment movement has grown from grassroots campaigns across the world, and the movement to divest the Vatican will be the same. Every single Catholic institution that turns its back on fossil fuels is adding to the momentum for Pope Francis to divest the Vatican.

Momentum is already on our side, with your help we can turn the tide and push for climate action that is in line with what science and justice demand.

Starting a divestment campaign is easier than you might think, and can make a huge impact.

Find out more about starting a divestment campaign in your community.

  1. The Catholic communities committing to divest from fossil fuels today are: The Jesuits in English Canada; the Federation of Christian Organisations for the International Voluntary Service (FOCSIV) in Italy; the Presentation Society of Australia and Papua New Guinea; SSM Health in the United States; the Diocese of the Holy Spirit of Umuarama in the Brazilian state of Paraná; the Missionary Society of St. Columban, based in Hong Kong and with a global presence in 14 countries; and the Salesian Sisters of Don Bosco – Daughters of Mary Help of Christians in Milan and Naples (Italy). ↩︎

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