Two religious orders have joined a global pledge by seven groups to divest from fossil fuel investments, according to the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change.
The two orders are the Presentation Society of Australia and Papua New Guinea, and the Missionary Society of St Columban, based in Hong Kong and with a global presence in Australia and 13 other countries, says the statement by ARRCC.
Other groups who pledged to divest include the Jesuits in English Canada; the Federation of Christian Organisations for the International Voluntary Service in Italy; SSM Health in the United States; and the Salesian Sisters of Don Bosco – Daughters of Mary Help of Christians in Milan and Naples (Italy).
The Global Catholic Climate Movement has made a major focus of its work to encourage Catholic fossil fuel divestment and reinvestment in low carbon climate solutions. Their Divest-Reinvest initiative is expected to precipitate an escalation in the number of Catholic organisations changing their investment practices.
The announcement by the Missionary Society of St Columban is of their pledge to divest from fossil fuels over the next five years, as well as putting resources into Positive Impact Investing alternatives.
An official statement from the General Council said that “Pope Francis is leading the way for Catholic institutions to choose a Divest-Reinvest strategy” through his encyclical Laudato Si’.
Columban Superior General, Fr Kevin O’Neill, says of the pledge: “Columbans have a long history of commitment to caring for the Earth as part of our missionary identity. We see our Socially and Environmentally Responsible Investment policy as an important expression of that commitment and therefore are exploring ways to direct our investments towards funds which respond positively to our issue priorities such as renewable energy, community-based microenterprise, and peace initiatives.”
Photo: Smoke rises from a brick kiln on the outskirts of Gauhati, India (AP)
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