If it’s wrong to wreck the planet, then it’s wrong to profit from that wreckage.
The movement to divest from fossil fuels has always hinged on a fundamentally moral argument: Investment in the fossil fuel industry is wrong. Climate change is unjust.
These are precepts that Christians and non-Christians alike can agree on. In the past two years, hundreds of universities, cities, and faith communities have rallied around the idea of fossil fuel divestment, calling on institutions to align their investments with their moral principles and send a clear symbolic message: The actions of this industry are incompatible with a livable planet, and we are taking a stand against it.
Many leaders have responded, with institutions like the Unitarian Universalists, the United Church of Christ, and the World Council of Churches committing to fossil fuel divestment in just the past few months. In June, the University of Dayton became the first Catholic University to divest.
The tide is turning. Now it’s time to divest the Vatican.
With the ear of 1.2 billion Catholics and the respect of Christians and non-Christians alike, Pope Francis is uniquely positioned to add both his voice and the unique moral power of his office to the divestment movement.
In the coming months, Pope Francis plans to release an encyclical, one of the highest forms of Catholic teaching, on humanity’s role in caring for the Earth.
The Pope understands the threat of climate change. He understands the moral imperative of caring for creation. He understands that if we do nothing, then the impacts of climate change will be horrific, and will fall hardest on the world's most vulnerable people. He gets that humans are responsible for protecting the planet -- and ourselves.
Let’s ask Pope Francis to make divestment part of his moral argument.