Fox News Runs Pope Francis Hit Piece, Claims Pope In Line With ‘Environmental Extremists’

Pope Francis plans soon to issue a major encyclical on climate change, and Fox News is there, broadcasting a hit piece on the pope comparing him to “environmental extremists who favor widespread population control and wealth distribution.”

A papal encyclical is a written position paper, in the form of a letter to every bishop in the Catholic church, issued by a pope in which he identifies and explains policy issues that he believes should be a priority for Catholics.

The climate change encyclical by Pope Francis has not yet been issued, but the pope announced in December that he planned to issue the document sometime in 2015. Bishop Marcelo Sorondo, chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, said that the purpose of the encyclical is to influence the upcoming United Nations meeting in climate change in Paris.

“Just as humanity confronted revolutionary change in the 19th century at the time of industrialization, today we have changed the natural environment so much,” said Sorondo. “If present trends continue, the century will witness unprecedented climate change and destruction of the ecosystem with tragic consequences.”

But in a December 30 report by Fox News correspondent Doug McKelway, the conservative network — run by Roger Ailes, who is himself Catholic — warned that Pope Francis would be forming an ideological alliance with “enemies of the church” by expressing official concern about climate change.

The Fox News segment also featured comments from Mar Moreno, a former aide to Republican Senator James Inhofe, who claims that global warming is a “hoax.”

According to the watchdog site Media Matters, Moreno is “paid by an industry-funded group to run the climate change-denying website ClimateDepot.com.”

In the Fox News segment, Moreno claimed that there has been no evidence of global warming in the past 20 years, an assertion that has been conclusively refuted by scientific research.

McKelway also made the bizarre claim in the Fox News segment that by issuing a papal encyclical on climate change, Pope Francis risked turning climate science into a new religion.

The papal letter “may play well into the hands of skeptics who’ve long seen global warming fears as almost religious in its fervor, with biblical themes of a pristine Eden-like planet tarnished by man, followed by a loss of grace and a coming doomsday,” the Fox News reporter asserted.

As Media Matters noted, McKelway, prior to joining Fox News, was fired from his job at an ABC affiliate after a “shouting match” with station managers after he reported a story that reported falsely that President Barack Obama received campaign contributions from the BP oil company.

The Fox News Pope Francis segment can be viewed in the video below.