With only the vaguest of references to abortion and traditional marriage, Pope Francis gave his first public address in America, devoting most of his speech to climate change. Using the White House as a backdrop for his all-English speech, the pope peppered his comments with references to immigrants and spiritual freedoms, telling his audience to reject “every form of unjust discrimination” based on religious beliefs. He said that religious liberty was “one of the America’s most precious possessions” that must be defended at all costs.
But the pope devoted the largest section of his address to climate change, telling the audience we are at a “critical moment of history” and that “climate change is a problem which can no longer be left to a future generation.” This comes on the heels of the highly publicized videos that showed Planned Parenthood employees brokering fetal body parts for research. Even Hillary Clinton called the videos disturbing, “before Planned Parenthood yanked her leash” and she got back in line with the usual talking points.
Also reported by The Daily Caller, Francis lionized Obama for “reducing air pollution” and taking the fight against global warming seriously. “It seems clear to me also that climate change is a problem that can no longer be left to a future generation,” Francis told those gathered at the White House. “When it comes to the care of our common home, we are living at a critical moment in history.”
But not everyone agrees with the Pope’s primary focus on global warming. Arizona congressman Paul Gosar (R), a Catholic, said “he was boycotting the pope’s appearance before Congress this week over the pontiff’s remarks on global warming.” Gosar wrote in a Time Magazine Op/Ed that the Pope has an opportunity to be one of the “world’s great religious advocates and address the current intolerance of religious freedom.”
Gosar also said that the pope had an opportunity to speak out against the “enslavement, belittlement, rape and desecration of Christian women and children; to address the condoned, subsidized, intentionally planned genocide of unborn children by Planned Parenthood and society.” But as seen today on the White House lawn, the pope is apparently first a diplomat and a spiritual leader second.
Instead of railing against the wholesale destruction of millions of unborn children each year as many Catholics had expected, the pope’s talking points were more in line with those of the president’s controversial Clean Power Plan. The pope, ostensibly the world leader in fighting for those who have no voice, used his world-broadcast address to exalt the president’s fight against carbon dioxide emissions.
Even so, the pope still has to convince his legion of American bishops to refocus their attentions on fighting global warming. Many bishops believe that abortion, traditional marriage, community involvement, and religious liberties should be priorities for the Catholic Church, and not climate change.
But Francis is optimistic that the world will phase out fossil fuels and “enact policy changes to address global warming, saying that ‘we know that things can change.'” He also used familiar catchphrases to those familiar with United Nations’ talking points: “sustainable development” and “human ecology.” The United Nations was instrumental in helping the pope write his Laudato Si, an encyclical on the environment.
The pope even quoted Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr, saying that “we have defaulted on a promissory note and now is the time to honor it.” Francis also remarked that, “we wish to commit ourselves to the conscious and responsible care of our common home” and that Americans continue to share their “peace and prosperity” with the less fortunate.
“I would like all men and women of good will 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,” he said.