Their assets will be reinvested in clean, renewable energy.
The group of 61 Catholic institutions that have pledged to fully or partially divest includes the Archdiocese of Cape Town; Georgetown University; the Franciscan Sisters of Mary; Newton University; and the Episcopal Conference of Belgium.
These divestments will participate in the global divestment movement, which is currently worth $5.5 trillion. Other divestors of note include the Rockefeller Brothers Fund; the University of Glasgow; the World Council of Churches; the British Medical Association, and actor/activist Mark Ruffalo, who is actually a top contributor.
The Guardian reports that UN Climate Chief Christiana Figueres, who played an essential role in the negotiation of the Paris climate agreement, supports the decision, saying:
“[This is] a further sign we are on the way to achieving our collective mission. I hope we will see more leaders like these 40 Catholic institutions commit, because while this decision makes smart financial sense, acting collectively to deliver a better future for everybody is also our moral imperative.”
Pope Francis is continuing the work started by Pope Benedict XVI, who was frequently called “the Green Pope.” In January, 2010, Pope Benedict XVI released a papal message that explored the topic of “environmental refugees”:
“Can we remain indifferent before the problems associated with such realities as climate change, desertification, the deterioration and loss of productivity in vast agricultural areas, the pollution of rivers and aquifers, the loss of biodiversity, the increase of natural catastrophes and the deforestation of equatorial and tropical regions? Can we disregard the growing phenomenon of ‘environmental refugees,’ people who are forced by the degradation of their natural habitat to forsake it – and often their possessions as well – in order to face the dangers and uncertainties of forced displacement? Can we remain impassive in the face of actual and potential conflicts involving access to natural resources?”
Since you are here…
…we’d like to have one more word with you. We are excited to report that Aleteia’s readership is growing at a rapid rate, world-wide! Our team proves its mission every day by providing high-quality content that informs and inspires a Christian life. But quality journalism has a cost and it’s more than ads can cover. We want our articles to be accessible to everyone, free of charge, but we need your help. To continue our efforts to nourish and inspire our Catholic family, your support is invaluable. Become an Aleteia Patron today for as little as $3 a month. May we count on you?