Energy

While Pope Rails On Fossil Fuels, US Catholic Churches Lease Land For Drilling

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Steve Birr Vice Reporter
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Catholic institutions across Texas and Oklahoma have diverged from Pope Francis’s crusade against fossil fuel use, Reuters reports. Despite the Pope’s call to move off what he views as harmful fossil fuels, dioceses in the two states have been leasing out land for drilling to energy companies.

According to Reuters, “in one archdiocese — Oklahoma City — Church officials have signed three new oil and gas leases since Francis’s missive on the environment.” With climate change expected to be a central issue during the Pope’s visit to America, Reuters suggests the actions of these Texas and Oklahoma based institutions reflect a “moral dissonance” between the Vatican and their U.S. churches.

County documents show that since 2010, dioceses across the two states have signed 235 leases with the oil and gas industry. Consultant and former director of the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association Mickey Thompson admitted to Reuters that, “There may be some kind of inconsistency here between what the pope has said and what the Church is doing in U.S. oil and gas country,” but added many of the deals have to do with legal agreements between parish donors and the Church.

The Archdiocese of Oklahoma City and the Archdiocese of San Antonio revealed to Reuters that drilling royalties only account for 2 and 1 percent of their yearly revenue respectively, and that one-third of those profits went to charity.

Still, many on the left are bound to find the Church’s involvement with oil and gas companies troubling, especially in the wake of Pope Francis’s visit to the U.S. The Reuters’ report found that across America the Catholic Church has, “millions of dollars invested in energy companies, from hydraulic fracturing to oil sands producers.” Fracking continues to be heavily criticized by environmentalists, despite evidence suggesting it does little harm.

Wednesday morning the Pope spoke on climate change, praising President Obama’s efforts, and declaring that, “we are living at a critical moment in history.”

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Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.