Catholic dioceses and orders are among 36 faith institutions from around the world who have announced their divestment from fossil fuels in recent weeks. The commitments highlight the urgent need to invest in clean alternatives to fossil fuels in response to the growing climate crisis.
Among those announcing their divestment is the Catholic diocese of Hallam, which becomes the fourth Catholic diocese in England and Wales to divest, as well as six Catholic dioceses in Ireland.
The Sisters of the Holy Family of Bordeaux and the Institute of Our Lady of Mercy (UK) have also joined the announcement. The group also includes the diocese of Bristol and of Oxford, the first Church of England dioceses to announce their divestment from fossil fuels, together with the Church in Wales, the Baptist Union of Great Britain and the General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches.
The announcement takes place during Laudato Si’ Week (which finishes on 25th May), a celebration of the progress the Church has made on its journey to ecological conversion following Pope Francis’ encyclical on climate change and ecology.
The Bishop of Hallam, Ralph Heskett, said: “The diocese divested of the most damaging fossil fuel companies many years ago. “However, in recent months, we have decided to divest of the remainder of our investments with fossil fuel companies and instructed brokers to actively seek opportunities for investing in companies involved in renewable forms of energy. The diocese continues to review our actions and investments to care for our common home.”
Bishop Brendan Leahy of Limerick said his diocese’s decision to divest had been made after “listening to the cry of humanity, the cry of creation and the cry of young people. It became clear our diocese could not continue its investments in fossil-fuel related funds. It is the poorest and most disadvantaged who suffer the most as a consequence. We need to see how, together, we can change our world. Together, in practical steps, we can console our planet’s cry. Fossil fuel divestment is such a step.”