Leaders in the Roman Catholic Church urged Republican presidential candidates to follow the edicts of Pope Francis and focus their attention on climate change and income inequality.
Last weeks announcement from Iowa bishops is the first time a U.S. Catholic bishop has pressed politicians to listen to Pope Francis’s edicts, according to the Business Insider.
He has called on political leaders to have “profound political courage.”
Although the Pope agrees with the traditional Republican stance on issues like abortion and the definition of marriage, he has come out against climate change, income inequality, fossil fuels, and gun manufacturers.
In a June publication of Pope Francis’s encyclical, the Vatican has called on world politicians to lead a bold revolution to correct the world’s problems, which he describes as dire.
He has warned of unprecedented destruction and serious consequences to humanity if the world fails to act on climate change, putting him at odds with Republicans.
The divide between Catholic leaders and Republican presidential candidates threatens to undermine the historically conservative voter base, and some Republicans aren’t happy about it.
Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.) told the Daily Kos the Pope should stay out of politics.
“It’s interesting how the Vatican has gotten so political when ultimately the Vatican ought to be working to lead people to Jesus Christ and salvation, and that’s what the Church is supposed to do.”
Jeb Bush also came out against the Pope, saying Francis has no business deciding economic policy.
Although Republicans appeal to religion to defend some of their political beliefs, they’re unwilling to accept the Pope’s leadership on other issues, and many candidates have said he has crossed the line.
That may not resonate well with the 80 million Americans who identify as Catholic.
Catholic Latinos, especially, are unlikely to side with Republicans as 80 percent agree with the Pope on climate change, according to a recent report from the Pew research center.
Church leaders in Ohio, Virginia, and Florida also plan to urge Republican candidates to follow the Pope’s leadership and Francis will be in New York in September to address the United Nations and Congress.
The Pope has said he plans to press for a commitment to curb greenhouse gasses and help for poor countries along with aid for refuges from North Africa and the Middle East.
The Pope has also called for all the world’s religions to come together to fight against modern slavery and human trafficking.
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