A number of Republican politicians have warned Pope Francis against "lecturing" them on issues such as climate change and capitalism ahead of the pontiff's major address at a joint session of Congress on Thursday.
"I think it's totally inappropriate that the Pope is weighing in on all the real sensitive, far-left issues," said Oklahoma Republican Senator James Inhofe in an interview with CNN. "I'm not a Catholic, but my Catholic friends in Oklahoma are not real pleased with it."
Rep. Paul Gosar, a Catholic Republican from Arizona, added: more >>
HBO host Bill Maher challenged GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum in an interview on his show on Friday to explain why Maher, as an atheist, backs Pope Francis in his stance on climate change, and why Santorum, as a Roman Catholic, does not.
"What I want to ask is, I mean, I'm not a Catholic, I'm an atheist," Maher said. "But I like the pope better than you do. You're saying the pope should stick to what he knows, and I find that ridiculous."
In June, Pope Francis released the 184-page "Laudato Si,'" or "Praise Be to You" encyclical," which tackled the way man-made climate change affects the world, such as the damage it inflicts on the poorest populations. more >>
A Gallup poll has found that Pope Francis' favorability rating in the U.S. has fallen significantly from last year, and now less than half of conservatives have a favorable opinion of him. Gallup suggested that the change is due to the pope's strong messages on human responsibility in climate change and his condemnation of the world's "idolatry of money."
"This decline may be attributable to the pope's denouncing of 'the idolatry of money' and attributing climate change partially to human activity, along with his passionate focus on income inequality — all issues that are at odds with many conservatives' beliefs," Gallup analyst Art Swift wrote on Wednesday, according to Religion News Service.
Among all Americans who responded to the survey, most, or 59 percent, still held a favorable view of the pontiff, with 16 percent holding an unfavorable view, and 25 present stating they have no opinion. The level of support is down from the last poll from February 2014, however, where Francis enjoyed 76 percent favorable ratings. more >>
Republican Party Chairman Reince Priebus blasted comments by Democratic presidential candidate Martin O'Malley suggesting that climate change is responsible for the rise of terror group ISIS in Iraq and Syria.
"Whether it's the weak Obama-Clinton nuclear deal that paves the way for Iran to obtain an atomic bomb or Martin O'Malley's absurd claim that climate change is responsible for ISIS, it's abundantly clear no one in the Democratic Party has the foreign policy vision to keep America safe," Priebus said in a statement, according to Fox News.
The remarks refer to earlier comments made by former Maryland Governor O'Malley in an interview with Bloomberg Television, when the Democratic hopeful suggested that climate change in the Middle East created conditions that facilitated the rise of ISIS. more >>
A major global poll by Pew Research Center has listed climate change, the economy, and ISIS as the top three greatest threats the world faces today. The Islamic militant group was the top threat identified by respondents both in the United States and Europe.
On a worldwide basis, respondents identified climate change as the top threat in the world today, with the majorities in most countries in both Latin America and Africa noting that they are very concerned about the issue.
"Publics in 19 of 40 nations surveyed cite climate change as their biggest worry, making it the most widespread concern of any issue included in the survey. A median of 61 percent of Latin Americans say they are very concerned about climate change, the highest share of any region," Pew noted. more >>
Pope Francis started his nine-day tour of Latin America, his first as pontiff, on Sunday, arriving in Quito, Ecuador, where he said, "No one, save Jesus Christ, possesses his or her own light." During his trip, Francis is likely to focus on poverty and inequality as well as reiterate his concern for the environment.
"I have come as a witness of God's mercy and of faith in Jesus Christ," Francis said in his prepared remarks at the welcome ceremony Sunday in Quito.
Children in traditional dress greeted the pope at the Mariscal Sucre airport, and shook hands with many of them. more >>