Just a week after U.S. President Donald Trump met with Pope Francis and promised to read his encyclical about climate change, the U.S. has withdrawn from the Paris climate deal, triggering a wave of criticism, even from some religious leaders.
Cardinal Blase Cupich from the Roman Catholic Church's Archdiocese of Chicago, took to Twitter to voice his concern.
"Environmental stewardship is a global issue and requires a spirit of cooperation, not the national individualism sadly displayed yesterday," the prelate wrote.
He added, "Climate change is real. Failing to protect the earth is not just a failure of leadership. It is a moral failure. It is a moral failure because it is an issue of life or death, especially for the poor, the first to suffer the effects of climate change."
Executive Director for the Franciscan Action Network Patrick Carolan, echoed Cupich.
Carolan decried the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris deal and said the president's decision to "pull out of commitments holding us accountable for doing our part to curb global temperature rise" is directly opposite the values the Franciscan order espoused as it turns its "backs on the poor and vulnerable," according to Religion News Network.
Meanwhile, the head of the Vatican's Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo called Trump's withdrawal a "huge slap in the face."
Speaking to the La Republica newspaper, the bishop said the U.S opting out of the deal "would not only be a disaster but completely unscientific," the Express reported.
"Saying that we need to rely on coal and oil is like saying that Earth is not round," added Sorondo. "It is an absurdity dictated by the need to make money."
The bishop also expressed his belief that Trump's decision to pull out of the deal was heavily backed by the oil industry in the country.
The president and CEO of the American Jewish World Service (AJWS), Robert Bank, said he and all the member Jews of AJWS strongly object to Trump's "shortsighted and damaging decision."
Bank also vowed to continue raising awareness to the reality of climate change and be united with people all over the world who "suffer the most" from its effect.
Global Catholic Climate Movement Executive Director Tomas Insua did not mince words, saying in a statement that the president's decision is a "backward and immoral action."
Insua vowed to do all that he can to support the church's fight against climate change and to bring awareness to its reality.
The Paris accord requires countries that are part of the deal to maintain a global temperature of "well below" two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. While this level still has lasting effects on the earth's climate, it is significantly lower and less destructive than if left uncontrolled.