Those present for the occasion included Christian Brothers Oceania Province, Cluster Leader WA Br Terry Casey CFC, Perth Auxiliary Bishop Don Sproxton, Columban Mission priest Fr Kelvin Barrett SSC, Sisters of Our Lady of the Mission, Sr Margaret Spain RNDM, Catholic Mission WA Director Francis Leong, Cathedral Dean Rev Dr Sean Fernandez and Justice Ecology and Development Office Director, Carol Mitchell. Photo: Beryl Rahman.
In support of the Laudato Si’ Movement Divestment Day of Action, a small prayer gathering was held at St Mary’s Cathedral on Thursday 9 March.
Supported by the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change, the call to action is to divest from fossil fuels and invest in renewables.
Those present for the occasion included Perth Auxiliary Bishop Don Sproxton, Cathedral Dean, the Rev Dr Sean Fernandez, Christian Brothers Oceania Province, Cluster Leader WA Br Terry Casey CFC, Catholic Mission Director Francis Leong, Columban Mission priest Fr Kelvin Barrett SSC, Sisters of Our Lady of the Mission Sr Margaret Spain RNDM and Justice Ecology and Development Office (JEDO) Director, Carol Mitchell.
Ms Mitchell began the gathering by giving a brief overview of why we should care about divesting from fossil fuels from the Catholic argument for fossil fuel divestment.
JEDO Director Carol Mitchell began the gathering by giving a brief overview of why we should care about divesting from fossil fuels from the Catholic argument for fossil fuel divestment. Photo: Beryl Rahman.
“Since the publication of Laudato Si’, every living person on the planet has been urged to consider how we choose to engage in the world we see unfolding under the threat of the ecological and social crises,” Ms Mitchell said, quoting a recent article about the Catholic argument for fossil fuel divestment.
“Many faithful Catholics are commendably responding by moderating their consumption and embracing sustainable lifestyles including renewable energy technology,” she said.
Prayers were then gathered, including the 2021/22 Social Justice Statement Prayer - Cry of the Earth, Cry of the Poor and other SJS prayers: Conversion; Trinity; Sacramentality and Wonder & Awe. The Prayer for Divestment (from the LS Movement Prayer Book) was then read together.
Bishop Sproxton then shared some reflections from the Oceania discussions in Fiji before providing a blessing to all for their ministries, mission and service in relation to ecological action.
Br Terry Casey and Fr Kelvin Barrett SSC during the prayer gathering, Thursday 9 March at St Mary’s Cathedral. Photo: Beryl Rahman.
During a world-wide Divestment Week of Action initiated by the global Catholic Laudato Si’ Movement, Australian people of faith and their organisations were encouraged to consider divesting from fossil fuels as part of their broader responsibility to care for the earth.
Multi-Faith Prayer Service
A multi-faith prayer service was held at St Patrick’s Catholic Cathedral, Parramatta on Thursday 9 March, as part of the Week of Action, organised by the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change (ARRCC).
Leaders from several faiths participated in the event, including Parramatta Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, Ven Bhante Sujato, Rev Meredith Williams, Ahmet Ozturk, Rev Dr Shenouda Mansour and Jewish Rabbi George Mordecai.
Held during the Christian season of Lent, the event highlighted that people of faith and faith-based organisations should “repent” of unwittingly allowing their savings to finance coal, oil and gas mining.
Bishop Vincent Long of Parramatta said the time has come for us to act decisively
“To reduce our carbon footprint, to invest in renewable energy, to divest from fossil fuels, to consume less and waste less,” Bishop Long said.
Theravada Buddhist monk, Venerable Bhante Sujato said escalating climate chaos unfolds before us every day, in every nation, in cold and heat, in flood and fire.
“We fear for ourselves and for our children, yet sometimes we do not even know that our own money is funding the madness,” Venerable Sujato said.
“The big banks and financial institutions are too often deeply dependent on fossil fuel investments, profiting while the world burns.
“Divesting from fossil fuels breaks this cycle. When consumers refuse to participate in destructive fossil fuel profiteering, it sends an unmistakable signal,” he said.
President of ARRCC Thea Ormerod, said it is not well known that the big banks and funds tend to invest heavily in coal, oil and gas mining and infrastructure.
Certain banks, such as Bendigo Bank and Bank Australia, avoid this and instead engage in ‘positive impact investing’,” Thea said.
Faith-based organisations have been among the first to embrace fossil fuel divestment, both in Australia and globally.
Worldwide, of all organisations to have committed to divestment, those that are faith-based are the largest in number.
Ms Ormerod said faith-based organisations come out of long revered traditions of seeking to live more ethically.
“Action to ensure that one’s money is used as a power for good and not for harm should, and often does, flow seamlessly from other religious values. Values such as responsibility to care for the earth, respect for life, compassion and justice,” Ms Ormerod said.