Gerry Machen is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Gerry Machen is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Italian town of Assisi has also joined the effort

The anniversary of the death of St. Francis of Assisi was October 4. The day witnessed about 40 Catholic institutions announcing their faith-centric divestment from the fossil fuel industry and its ancillaries. The amount of money being taken out was not disclosed, but thought to be in the tune of $5.5 trillion. This sum is four times more than any previous church records.

The joint announcement was coordinated by Global Catholic Climate Movement. The movement was formed after Pope Francis made an encyclical in 2015, aptly titled Laudato Si' on the Care of Our Common Home.

Pope Francis, in the environment cyclical, admitted to the veracity of science that climate change was real. He wrote that technology based on fossil fuels is a highly polluting one. This is the reason they must be replaced without further ado. Greenhouse gases, more specifically carbon dioxide, are released from the burning fossil fuels. These gases are the principal cause of climate change. As per the Paris Agreement, almost every country around the world must slash their emissions. This will enable the holding of global temperature increase below two degrees Celsius. The aim is to go below 1.5 degrees. This will delay the deadly effects of a changing climate. This hostile phenomena adversely affect the world's marginalized people and poor communities.

The list of church institutions who have joined this effort include Episcopal Conference of Belgium, Assisi-Nocera Umbra-Gualdo Tadino, and Archdiocese of Cape Town. The Assisi-Nocera is spiritual home of Franciscan brothers. Assisi, the Italian town, as a symbolic step, will divest all gas, oil, and coal holdings prior to the visit of Paolo Gentiloni, the Prime Minister of Italy. He will come to mark the feast day of St. Francis. Stefania Proietti, the mayor of Assisi, told the media that when attention is paid to the environment, attention is also given to the poor. She said that the economically downtrodden are the primary victims of change in climate. Proietti was a climate mitigation professor during her earlier career.

Two Italian dioceses, Gubbio and Caserta, also participated, along with 11 religious orders and a German Catholic banking institution. Some of them are in Belgium, where a total of 13 Catholic institutions have made public their commitments to divestment. Outside Europe, a number of Catholic organizations present in South Africa, Argentina, Sierra Leone, Kenya, and Australia have also announced their divestment intentions.

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