Catholic Bishops of Philippines Reject ‘Destructive’ Industries

New Pastoral Statement on Ecology

Catholic Bishops of Philippines Reject
Bishop Pablo Virgilio David of Kalookan, CBCP President, speaks during a virtual press conference on Jan. 29, 2022.

The Catholic bishops of the Philippines have agreed to reject donations “of whatever kind” from environmentally “destructive” industries such as mining, reported CBCP News.

The “non-acceptance policy” was contained in a new pastoral statement on ecology released on Saturday after the two-day online plenary assembly of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.

The church leaders said the decision reaffirms their commitment “to lead by example” in promoting the use of renewable energy and other sustainable systems.

The policy, they said, applies to all destructive projects including coal-fired power plants, quarrying, and fossil gas “regardless of scale of operation”.

In a press conference, CBCP president Bishop Pablo Virgilio David said the policy will be implemented by the bishops themselves in their respective dioceses.

“And of course, the point persons in each community are the parish priests, the school directors and in other institutions run by the Roman Catholic Church,” David said.

“Our people need to be very critical, especially our parish priests. While we have several needs in our pastoral work, let us not compromise the welfare of our environment,” he said.

The move comes two years after the bishops’ collegial body agreed not to allow the financial resources of Catholic institutions to be invested in extractive projects.

“It is unacceptable that finances so graciously provided to us are used for such industries,” read the statement. “Financial resources must be used solely for the Common Good, Integrity of Creation, and the Glory of our Creator.”

The statement also urged banking institutions that are funding coal, fossil gas, and other “destructive energy” to come up with policies and plans to restrict and eventually phase out their involvement in such industries.

“Without this commitment, the Church intends to fully divest its assets from financial institutions and corporations invested in said ecologically-harmful activities by 2025, and hold them accountable to their fiduciary duties and moral obligations as climate actors,” it added.

Bishop Mylo Hubert Vergara, CBCP Vice President, said their mission is to take up the challenges set forth in Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation Laudato Si.

“There’s something called walking the talk. So this is a good statement issued to show that we will really make efforts and for our Church institutions to put it into practice,” he said.