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They were joined by two religious orders based in Ireland: The Sisters of St. Joseph of Chambery and the Northern Province of the Mercy Sisters. A further four religious orders – the Sisters of St John of God, St. Patrick’s Missionary Society, Columbans and three branches of Presentation Sisters – have already committed to fossil fuel divestment.
“The poor are suffering greatly from the climate crisis and fossil fuels are among the main drivers of this injustice,” said Cardinal Luis Tagle, President of Caritas Internationalis. “That is why Caritas Internationalis has decided not to invest in fossil fuels anymore. We encourage our member organizations and other groups or organizations connected to the Church to do the same.”
Last Sunday’s announcement also saw three Catholic banks and several dioceses also announce their decision to divest. Pax Bank, Bank Im Bistum Essen eG and Steyler Ethik Bank, which control balance sheets of approximately €7.5 billion, said they will no longer be investing in the fossil fuel industry.
The archdiocese of Luxembourg, the archdiocese of Salerno-Campagna- Acerno and the diocese of Communauté Mission de France also announced divestment by their dioceses at the weekend.
“Divestment is an important way for the Church to show leadership in the context of a changing climate,” said Jean-Claude Hollerich, Archbishop of Luxembourg.
The announcements represent significant commitment from within the Church to keep fossil fuels in the ground.
In total, 35 organisations announced their decision to divest on Sunday. This brings to 95 the number of Catholic organisations committed to divestment
Trócaire has been campaigning for divestment for the last number of years. The divestment movement is gaining momentum in Ireland.
Well-known Irish institutions such as Trinity College, Maynooth University and Trócaire have all announced their commitment to divest from fossil fuels within five years. Several more Irish universities have active student campaigns calling for divestment.
Two private members bills to divest the Irish State Investment Fund from fossil fuels and to ban future oil exploration in Irish waters are currently making their way through the Oireachtas.