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Vatican urges Catholics to divest from fossil fuels in new guidelines

by Heather Preston
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The Vatican has released environmental guidelines encouraging Catholics to avoid supporting companies that harm human life and the environment and to play a part in caring for the planet.

Journeying Towards Care for Our Common Home: Five Years After Laudato Si' was released on Thursday and offers reflections and guidance on how to maintain a "healthy relationship with Creation" as well as suggesting eco-friendly initiatives to take part in such as water and energy efficiency, solar panels and enhancing green cover.

The document was presented at a press conference in the Vatican on 18th June and encourages Catholics to take part in an annual season for ecological action, as well as divesting from companies that use fossil fuels and contribute to climate change.

It comes after 42 faith institutions announced their commitment to divestment from fossil fuels in May 2020. Among them were the Jesuits in Britain, the Sisters of St Joseph of Peace (UK) and the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton, which became the third diocese out of 22 Catholic dioceses in England and Wales to divest in favour of more clean energy.

Several Catholic religious orders in the UK, including the Passionists, the Congregation of Jesus, the Religious Sisters of Charity, the Presentation Sisters and the Franciscan Sisters Minoress, have already divested from fossil fuel companies. 

Christian climate charity Operation Noah welcomes the Vatican's new guidelines.

Operation Noah Campaign Manager, James Buchanan said: "We hope that Catholic dioceses, religious orders and Bishops' Conferences in the UK and around the world will implement the recommendations to divest from fossil fuels and invest in clean alternatives as a matter of urgency in response to the climate emergency."

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