Leave it to the Scientists? Millennial Co-founders Respond to Rick Santorum’s Challenge to the Pope’s Authority

Christopher Hale writes in the Washington Post:

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum caused a small uproar earlier this week when he said that Pope Francis should stop talking about climate change and “leave science to the scientists.”…

The Catholic Church speaks on issues of faith and science not as some academic exercise, but because these issues affect human flourishing, and we’re called by God to defend the dignity of every woman, man and child.

Just as the Church is unafraid to defend the dignity of the child in the womb, we cannot be afraid to defend the dignity of those who are the victims of a global economy that kills through environmental exploitation, rampant consumerism and structural inequalities.

What Santorum seems to misunderstand, but that Francis, Benedict and the Church get is that protecting creation is first and foremost a religious issue.

Protecting creation and addressing climate change is a response to the God’s ancient request that we be good stewards of all that God has given us: clean air, fresh water and fruits of the harvest.

Robert Christian writes in Time:

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum has called on Pope Francis to “leave science to the scientists” in an effort to avoid supporting the pope’s message on protecting the environment and fighting climate change. With the pope’s upcoming encyclical, or letter, on the subject set to be released in the next two weeks, it’s unlikely that this will be the last time we hear a prominent Republican use this line. One big problem: Pope Francis is no scientific illiterate. He has a degree in chemistry and worked as a chemist….

Perhaps when the pope addresses a joint meeting of Congress later this year, he will not just provide some moral instruction, but also clear up a few scientific matters, too.

Pope Francis defies the liberal-conservative divide that shapes Congress, and given his straightforward, pull-no-punches approach, he will likely challenge both Democrats and Republicans to reject the “throwaway culture” that he has repeatedly denounced during his papacy. In particular, the pope is likely to challenge Republicans to accept the reality of climate change and to support measures that would protect the environment. Meanwhile, he’s likely to challenge Democrats on abortion, as he treats the issue as integral to social justice and the defense of human rights.