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Rick Santorum tells the Pope to back off climate change, forgetting that the Pope IS a scientist

rick santorum vs pope francis

The Vatican recently announced that Pope Francis will deliver an encyclical — a letter covering some aspect of Catholic doctrine, and the second highest-ranking kind of document a present-day Pope can produce — on the environment, anthropogenic climate change, and the moral issue of good planetary stewardship. Some people, like those at Yale University’s Forum on Religion and Ecology, are pleased. Others, most notable super-conservative (and namesake of the icky aftermath of certain sex acts) Rick Santorum is less so.

Here’s what Santorum said in a recent interview on a Philadelphia radio station:

The church has gotten it wrong a few times on science. We probably are better off leaving science to the scientists, and focusing on what we’re really good at, which is theology and morality.

When we get involved with controversial and scientific theories, I think the Church is not as forceful and not as credible. I’ve said this to the Catholic bishops many times — when they get involved in agriculture policy, or things like that, that are really outside of the scope of what the Church’s main message is, that we’re better off sticking to the things that are really the core teachings of the Church as opposed to getting involved in every other kind of issue that happens to be popular at the time.

While he’s right that the church has often been wrong on science, Santorum’s “leave science to the scientists” stance rings more than a little false given that his party tends to resist science in the most ridiculous ways. Remember, they recently voted to prevent scientists from advising the Environmental Protection Agency on their own environmental research.

It also ignores the fact that Pope Francis, neé Jorge Bergoglio, has a master’s degree in chemistry from the University of Buenos Aires, and that other members of the Catholic clergy, most notably the Jesuits, have a long history of significantly contributing to science and mathematics.

Santorum’s real problem with the encyclical isn’t that the Pope is straying into areas where he’s not qualified, but that he’s straying into areas where Santorum doesn’t want him.

Read: Santorum Wants The Pope To Back Off Talking About Climate Science

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