Philippine archdiocese divests from fossil fuels

Manila archdiocese to support all initiatives to protect, preserve, nurture, and respect God’s creation, says cardinal

UCA News reporter

Updated: September 06, 2023 11:41 AM GMT

Catholics in Manila participate in a Mass to mark the Season of Creation on Sept. 2. (Photo: Archdiocese of Manila)

Archdiocese of Manila in the Philippine capital has announced it has divested from fossil fuels such as coal and other businesses that destroy environment in line with Pope Francis' famed environmental encyclical, Laudato si.

The archdiocese started the divesting process years ago in response to the pope's 2015 encyclical, Manila Archbishop Cardinal Jose F. Advincula said in a pastor letter on Sept. 4.

The letter has been posted on the archdiocesan website on the occasion of the ongoing Season of Creation which runs from Sept. 1–Oct. 4.

During this annual ecumenical event world's 2.2 billion Christians unite, pray and act to care for God's creation and the common home, the earth.

Advincula said that the decision to divest from destructive businesses was also in consonance with our faith and the earlier social teachings of the Church.

We commit to relentlessly support all initiatives that will protect, preserve, nurture, and respect God's creation, he said.

The archdiocese started observing the Season of Creation eleven years ago as the efforts for ecological conservation were a part of preparations for celebration of the 500 years of Christianity in the Philippines, he noted.

He noted that 35 years ago, the Catholic bishops conference (CBCP) issued a pastoral letter, What is happening to our beautiful land? to inform every Filipino of the ecological and environmental situation of our country.

At this point in the history of our country, it is crucial that people motivated by religious faith develop a deep appreciation for the fragility of our island's life systems and take steps to defend the Earth, he quoted from the letter.

It is a matter of life and death, it stated, referring to the vulnerability of the Philippines amid frequent natural disasters further worsened by climate change.

In 2019, in another pastoral letter, An Urgent Call for Ecological Conversion, Hope in the Face of Climate Emergency Catholic bishops agreed to divest from dirty energy sources, such as coal-fired power plants, CBCP News reported on Sept. 5

The letter proposed thirteen detailed concrete action points, Advincula pointed out.

While only a few dioceses used to have investments in coal, the bishops emphasized the need for collective action to address the climate crisis.

In a pastoral letter, A Call for Unity and Action amid a Climate Emergency and Planetary Crisis, issued on Feb. 2, 2022, the national bishops' conference called for unity among churches to urgently respond to the problem.

Divestment from fossil fuels has become a major Catholic climate action campaign in recent years. Dozens of Catholic and faith-based institutions have made their assets off-limits for fossil fuel companies.

The Season of Creation ends on Oct. 4, the feast of St. Francis of Assisi.

In this year's season of creation Pope Francis is urging us to become instruments in letting justice and peace flow like a mighty river, the Manila archbishop said.

Let Justice and Peace Flow is the theme of this year's Season of Creation, inspired by the words of the prophet Amos: Let justice flow on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream (5:24).

In the Philippines, the dioceses extend the observance to the second Sunday of October, known as Indigenous Peoples' Sunday.

Manila archdiocese is committed to responding to the goals of Laudato Si by mobilizing various institutions to become part of the Laudato Si Action Platform to achieve integral ecology, Advincula said.

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