The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Manila announced it has divested from fossil fuels, the largest contributor to climate change, and what it called “other destructive businesses.”
In his message for the ongoing “Season of Creation,” Cardinal Jose Advincula said the move was made “years ago” in response to the calls of Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical “Laudato Si.’”
“This is to inform everyone that the Archdiocese of Manila has divested all our investments from coal and other destructive businesses since years ago,” Advincula said.
The decision, according to him, was also “in consonance with our faith and the earlier social teachings of the Church.”
“We commit to relentlessly support all initiatives that will protect, preserve, nurture, and respect God’s creation,” he said.
In 2019, the country’s Catholic bishops agreed to divest from “dirty energy” sources, such as coal-fired power plants.
While only a few dioceses used to have investments in coal, the bishops emphasized the need for collective action to address the climate crisis.
In its February 2022 pastoral letter, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) called for unity among churches to urgently respond to the problem.
The Season of Creation is a global and ecumenical celebration that runs from September 1 to October 4, coinciding with the feast of Saint Francis of Assisi.
In the Philippines, the dioceses extend the observance to the second Sunday of October, known as Indigenous Peoples’ Sunday.
The cardinal added that the archdiocese is committed to responding to the goals of Laudato Si’ “by mobilizing various institutions to become part of the Laudato Si Action Platform to achieve integral ecology.”
Albay bishop laments environmental challenges
Meanwhile, a Catholic bishop has used his message for the annual “Season of Creation” to criticize environmental issues besetting the province of Albay.
Bishop Joel Baylon of Legazpi condemned, among others, irresponsible quarrying, deforestation, ever-expanding fish pens and potential mining-related pollution.
“Here in our province, we have strayed from the path of stewardship,” Baylon said in a pastoral letter, “An Agrangay kan Kapalibotan asin an Agrangay kan mga Dukha,” released on September 1, the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation.
The bishop called on the faithful to “stand together” and protest environmental abuses and “become genuine stewards of the earth.”
“May our actions not be driven by short-term benefits only, but by concern for an environment where every person—now and in the future—can joyfully live and flourish,” he said.
He also urged the government authorities not to let greed rule their actions, decisions and policies.
“Let not greed, power, or personal gain blind us. Instead, consider what legacy we leave behind for our descendants,” Baylon said.
The pastoral letter discusses the interconnected issues of environmental degradation and the plight of the poor.
Albay province is grappling with environmental challenges like irresponsible quarrying, deforestation, ever-expanding fish pens, and potential mining-related pollution.
The “throwaway culture” is also criticized, and the community is called to embrace “ecological conversion” through sustainable practices.
Both the general public and those in authority are encouraged to be responsible stewards of creation. CBCP News
Image credits: RCAM-AOC