On September 23 Pope Francis addressed climate change in his White House speech, stating that he explicitly supports President Obama’s plan to cut carbon emissions, and chastising climate change deniers for failing to protect our “common home,” (Roberts 2015). The pope stated “Climate change is a problem which can no longer be left to a future generation,” and that he “would like all men and women of goodwill in this great nation to support the efforts of the international community to protect the vulnerable in our world and to stimulate integral and inclusive models of development, so that our brothers and sisters everywhere may know the blessings of peace and prosperity which God wills for all his children,” (Roberts, 2015). Pope Francis’ speech made climate change a moral issue for the Catholic religion, which created some controversy.
Congressman Paul Gosar was not pleased with Pope Francis’ White House speech and firmly stands against it. Gosar stated, “At this pivotal moment in world history, His Holiness, Pope Francis, is intending to spend the majority of his time on one of the world’s greatest stages focusing on climate change. If the Pope plans to spend the majority of his time advocating for flawed climate-change policies, then I will not attend,” (Foran 2015). Gosar is not the only politician who disagrees with the Pope; Jeb Bush, along with many others, including coal industry leaders and climate change deniers also disagree with him. Presidential contender Bush stated, “I hope I’m not going to get castigated for saying this by my priest back home, but I don’t get economic policy from my bishops or my cardinal or my pope. I think religion ought to be about making us better as people and less about things that end up getting in the political realm.”
Despite some backlash, Pope Francis’ influence on the world and climate change should not be underestimated. According to CNN’s article, “Why John Boehner Quit”, Boehner decided to resign from his House Speaker position one day after the historic visit by the Pope. Boehner said it was an ideal time because his new grandchild had been blessed by the Pope the previous day, and he could leave, in many ways, on a high note after the emotional experience of watching the leader of his church address the chamber a day before (Raju and Walsh, 2015). With climate change a current hot topic, Pope Francis’ speech may be seen as a catalyst for a more environmentally-progressive future.
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Roberts, Dan. 2015. Pope Francis calls for urgent action on climate change in White House speech. Date: September 23. Source: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/sep/23/pope-francis-climate-change-white-house-speech Accessed: September 29, 2015Foran, Clare. 2015.
House Republican Plans to Boycott Pope Francis’s Speech over Climate Change. Date: Setember 18. Source: https://www.nationaljournal.com/s/73344/house-republican-plans-boycott-pope-francis-speech-over-climate-change Accessed: September 29, 2015
Goldenberg, Suzanne. 2015. Jeb Bush joins Republican backlash against pope on climate change. Date: September 17. Source: http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/jun/17/jeb-bush-joins-republican-backlash-pope-climate-change Accessed: September 29, 2015
Raju, Manu and Walsh, Deirdre. 2015. Why John Boehner quit. Date: September 26 Source: http://www.cnn.com/2015/09/25/politics/why-john-boehner-quit/ Accessed: September 29, 2015
Bradner, Eric Merica, Dan and Keilar, Brianna. 2015. Hilary Clinton opposes Keystone XL pipeline. Date: September 22 Source: http://www.cnn.com/2015/09/22/politics/hillary-clinton-opposes-keystone-xl-pipeline/ Accessed: September 29, 2015