Youth groups at WYD call on Catholic institutions to divest from fossil fuels

  • Jo Siedlecka



During World Youth Day in Krakow, youth groups from around the world are calling on Catholic institutions to divest from fossil fuels, in line with the call Pope Francis has made to "care for our common home." An open letter signed by youth groups of all faiths internationally calls on Pope Francis to ask Catholic organizations, including the Vatican, to divest from fossil fuels. The letter will be published in Krakow during the vigil organized by

By calling out the destructive influence of the fossil fuel industry on the environment and the economy - and by highlighting the moral dimensions of climate change - the fossil fuel divestment movement targets the culprits of the climate crisis.

Divestment isn't primarily an economic strategy to loosen the grip that coal, oil, and gas companies have on our government and financial market, it is a moral one: if it's wrong to wreck the planet, then it's also wrong to profit from that wreckage, campaigners say.

Today, fossil fuel investments are a risk for both investors and the planet. In Laudato Si' Pope Francis acknowledged: "we know that technology based on the use of highly polluting fossil fuels needs to be progressively replaced without delay."

Divestment means getting rid of stocks, bonds, or investment funds that are unethical or morally ambiguous. Given that we have to leave the majority of proven reserves of coal, oil and gas in the ground in order to avoid catastrophic changes to our climate, hundreds of institutions committed to public good are making the decision to stop supporting an industry whose business model is based on wrecking the planet and our future.

The divested resources can in turn be reinvested in a clean energy future, financing initiatives that will help solve the climate crisis while developing new sources of safe, clean power and tackle energy poverty.

More than 530 from local councils and governments to universities and religious institutions - have divested globally, representing over $3.4 trillion in funds under management. They include the World Council of Churches, the Norwegian Sovereign Wealth Fund, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Stanford and Oxford Universities.

Some of the world's largest Catholic organizations still have millions of dollars invested in heavily polluting fossil fuel companies. However, in what has been regarded as "a new momentum for the Catholic church," Catholic institutions like Georgetown University, University of Dayton, Trocaire, Franciscan Sisters of Mary and more already committed to divest.

Catholic Divestment activities during WYD

July 28, 2 - 4pm "Sharing eco-testimonies and commitments to action" (Panel)

Location: St Hedwig - Wladyslawa Lokietka 60, Krakow

Get inspired by youth from around the globe who are taking action on climate change in their communities. We'll then break out cafe-style to meet others concerned about ecological issues and what is happening in our own communities.

July 29, 2 - 4pm Fossil Free Workshop

Location: St Hedwig - Wladyslawa Lokietka 60, Krakow

If it's wrong to wreck the planet, it's wrong to profit from that wreckage. Learn more about fossil fuel divestment, how to start your own campaign, and how it aligns with Pope Francis' message/Laudato Si.

July 29, 7pm Vigil

Location: Galicia Jewish Museum - ul. Dajwór 18, 31-052 Kraków

The organisers say: "Join us in a multi faith vigil and ask the Vatican to make Pope Francis' message in the Laudato Si' a concrete action - divest from from fossil fuels."

Tags: Poland, WYD, Catholic divestment, green, Laudato Si', Pope Francis, WYD

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