VIENNA (CNS) — The Austrian bishops’ conference is the most recent Catholic institution to say it will divest from fossil fuels.
Cardinal Christoph Schonborn of Vienna, conference chairman, said in a March 22 statement announcing the decision that church finances “must not exert a destructive influence on our planet’s climate.”
Divestment will take five years to accomplish, he added.
The cardinal cited Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical “Laudato Si’, on Care for Our Common Home,” as the inspiration for the decision, which was carried out in collaboration with the Global Catholic Climate Movement.
In recent years, the global movement has coordinated a campaign among Catholic institutions, banks and agencies to divest from fossil fuels.
Cardinal Schonborn said the decision covers all agencies of the conference and the two archdioceses and eight dioceses in the majority Catholic nation.
In 2017, the Austrian bishops adopted ethical investment guidelines that tied financial investments to Christian ethics related to justice, peace and care for creation. The cardinal said the conference will establish a new body to oversee investment practices.
The Austrian conference is the third to announce plans to divest, joining the bishops of Belgium and Ireland in the worldwide campaign. Overall, 120 Catholic institutions have ceased investing in companies that produce coal, oil and natural gas, according to the Global Catholic Climate Movement.
Help keep Catholic media free, support CatholicPhilly.com
You may have noticed “pay walls” greeting you when you visit the websites of newspapers and magazines, both large and small. These mechanisms allow you to read a few articles for free before you’ve got to pay an annual fee if you want to see more.
You won’t find a pay wall on CatholicPhilly.com because we’re more than a news organization. We’re informing, inspiring and forming readers in the Catholic faith every day through the news, features and commentaries that we post on this site and share across social media.
It costs money to provide high-quality coverage of the local Catholic communities we primarily serve, while also distributing national and world news of interest to Catholics, plus the orthodox teachings of the Catholic faith.
Help us in this mission by making a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
or by credit card: