A group of 40 Catholic institutions divested from fossil fuels Tuesday on the anniversary of the death of Saint Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals and the environment.
The group has set a record for the largest faith-based divestment from fossil fuels, CNBC reports.
“As a Catholic Church bank, we feel strongly responsible to participate in tackling the issue of climate change,” Bank for the Church and Caritas sustainability officer Tommy Piemonte said in a statement to CNBC.
The town of Assisi in Italy is also planning on breaking ties with fossil fuels on Saint Francis’ feast day. Assisi mayor Stefania Proietti said the move symbolized awareness of the environment and victims of climate change, according to The Guardian.
“When we invest in fossil fuels, we stray very far from social justice,” Proietti told The Guardian. “But when we disinvest and invest in renewable and energy efficiency instead, we can mitigate climate change, create a sustainable new economic deal and, most importantly, help the poor.”
Catholics and Assisi’s divestment of fossil fuels echoes Pope Francis’ position on environmentalism.
“It must be stated that a true ‘right of the environment’ does exist,” Francis said during a speech to the U.N. according to The Guardian. “Any harm done to the environment, therefore, is harm done to humanity.”
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