Faith communities and climate justice groups held a candlelight vigil in Manila, to call on Pope Francis to lead on climate action by committing to divest the Vatican Bank from fossil fuels ahead of his visit to the Philippines. © LJ Pasion/350.org

By Chuck Baclagon

On the eve of Pope Francis’ arrival we stood in silence below the night sky that was illuminated by flickering candles that spelled out our hope for a fossil-free future. In the gleaming light of the candles, our hopes shine in spite of all distractions, while in prayer we break silence, and allow words to flow out of our deepest parts.

The ceremony somehow reminded me of this verse:“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Fossil fuel divestment runs along that logic because it follows the reasoning that wherever one chooses to put its money reflects the one’s values, hence making it not only a moral act but a political exercise that manifests our values like where one stands in the current crisis that our planet faces as an effect of climate change.

Keeping that in mind climate change is another example of how misplaced values translated into investments result in injustice. Because investment in fossil fuels profit from ecological destruction and climate change, which renders those who have been least responsible and those who have least benefitted from the burning of fossil fuels to become the most vulnerable to its impacts.

Last Wednesday, we gathered because want to draw the line against the fossil fuel industry, we want to make our hopes known especially to Pope Francis whom we applause for his progressive stance on issues that include climate change as well as his call to look at it as a matter that is hinged on our common pursuit for justice and sustainability.

And while we look up at those words from His Holiness, we also believe that wisdom is vindicated in deeds, that is why we ask Pope Francis, to lead the way by making the Vatican Bank, divest from fossil fuels because that would pave the way for the entire church to put a stop to a cycle of injustice exacerbated by climate change.


A boy lights up a candle to ask for Pope Francis’ leadership in the urgent need to usher in a fossil-fuel free future. © LJ Pasion/350.org

This is why we went out to make our aspirations known.

Candles function as a symbol of our ‘presence’ –our presence that is encapsulated in our longings which we hope would come to light in time, the consciousness of our limitations reminds us that these longings perhaps will not be realized until we’re all long gone, but the light of the candles reminds us that our hopes can, and in the mystery of our intention for a better world can, the light of the candles matter because it counts as if we are still there when the dream is fulfilled.

In the light, our hopes shine in spite of all distractions. May the light shine now more than ever.


Join the call for a fossil-free Vatican here