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Catholics unite for climate action as Pope urged to divest

Catholics unites

Creative Commons: Dennis Jarvis, 2010

Catholic organisations and leaders from across the world have united to call for a sustainable climate future, today, as the Pope’s visit to the Philippines sparks renewed calls for the Roman Catholic Church to divest from fossil fuels.

Launched head of the Pope’s visit to the climate vulnerable Philippines tomorrow, where he will visit Tacloban, the city devastated by Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, the newly formed Global Catholic Climate Movement brings together laity and clergy, theologians, scientists and activists in a global call for climate action.

Lou Arsenio, Ecology Ministry coordinator at the Archdiocese of Manila, the Philippines said:

The movement plans to promote networking and sharing of information on climate change among Catholic organisations across national borders, to enhance a greater understanding of the Catholic teaching on care of God’s creation.

It is the first time that such a movement of Catholics have come together to work on climate issues.

To mark its launch, the movement, today, released a statement calling for prayer and action among the world’s Catholic population.

Patrick Carolan, executive director of the Franciscan Action Network, said:

Enhanced with teachings from Pope Francis and the Bishops of the Philippines, the statement calls for Catholics to promote the teachings of the church, appreciate their moral responsibility to act, and raise awareness about climate change and its impacts, particularly on the poor and future generations.

The statement will be presented to Pope Francis during his trip to the Philippines.

The Fossil Free campaign will also using the Pope’s visit to put pressure him to throw the weight of the Vatican behind the growing global movement for fossil fuel divestment.

Local faith groups, theological schools and development organisations have all gotten behind the call, and hundreds will join in Manila for a divestment forum ahead of the Pontiff arrival, calling for the Roman Catholic Church to divest.

They join tens of thousands of people worldwide who have signed an online petition with the same call.

350.org board member Lidy Nacpol said:

As Pope Francis prepares to visit the impacted communities from Super Typhoon Haiyan, we need him to stand in defence of human kind and the environment and take the lead in actions that will help prevent further climate catastrophes. One such urgent action is full divestment from the fossil fuel industry.

Since coming into office in 2013, Pope Francis has been a strong advocate on a variety of environmental issues. In the coming months, he is expected to release an ‘encyclical’ – a church – document calling for measures to address climate change.

The document will represent a call to the planet’s 1.2 billion Catholics to join the climate fight, and is expected to warn that action on climate change is “essential to the faith.”

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