Vatican Newspaper Urges Catholics to Fast from ‘Fossil Fuels’ for Lent

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ROME — The Vatican’s official newspaper L’Osservatore Romano has appealed to Catholics to “fast from gas” and other fossil fuels during Lent in solidarity with those suffering “cold in Ukraine.”

Lent is “a time for reflection and concrete actions such as ‘fasting from gas’ and limiting the use of heating,” the newspaper proposed, “not only as a sign of solidarity with Ukrainians and other afflicted peoples, but also to defund the war economy.”

Interviewed in L’Osservatore Romano last week, Cecilia Dall’Oglio, Italian program director of the Laudato Sí environmental movement, said that turning on heating gas means “financing a war economy and we don’t want that anymore.”

“Fasting from gas is Italy’s way of joining the Global Action Week during Lent: a time of awareness about ‘ecological sins’ and our responsibilities,” she added.

“Fasting can be done personally, in the family, as an opportunity to find the ‘right temperature’ at home,” she said. “In the past, during Lent we fasted from plastic and excessive consumption of meat. We are ready to change lifestyles, even if it may cost effort, and we want to involve our families, communities, and parishes.”

Dall’Oglio also strongly recommends using the time of Lent to divest from fossil fuels, as a testimony of proximity to “our Ukrainian brothers and sisters.”

At the moment, more than 350 Catholic institutions have made the commitment to divest from fossil fuels, Dall’Oglio asserted, “for an estimated total of between 10 and 20 billion dollars of lost investments in the fossil fuel industry.”

“Finance experts within the Church should share their knowledge, open their hearts to the questions of their community, to the ‘cry of the Earth’ and the ‘cry of the Poor,’” she declared.

The Laudato Sí movement is using Lent “as an opportunity to raise awareness and encourage leaders to divest before Easter,” Dall’Oglio noted, insisting that the time is right to “build an economy of peace through ecological and energy transition.”

We will make “a great global ecumenical announcement of divestment on the occasion of the next Earth Day — World Earth Day 2023,” she said.


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