Catholic Congressman Paul Gosar has decided to boycott Pope Francis’ upcoming speech to Congress. The right-wing dissenter criticizes the pope for not speaking out about the persecution of Christians (a topic that Francis addresses on a regular basis) and not focusing on religious liberty and abortion. It is unclear why Gosar believes that he knows the content of Pope Francis’ speech. Regardless, his main problem is with Catholic moral and social teaching, particularly on economics and care for God’s creation (and how they shape an authentically Catholic response to climate change). The congressman indicates his preference for an ideology of individualism to the Church’s approach to human dignity and the common good. Here is what he had to say:
If the Pope stuck to standard Christian theology, I would be the first in line. If the Pope spoke out with moral authority against violent Islam, I would be there cheering him on. If the Pope urged the Western nations to rescue persecuted Christians in the Middle East, I would back him wholeheartedly. But when the Pope chooses to act and talk like a leftist politician, then he can expect to be treated like one….
If the Pope plans to spend the majority of his time advocating for flawed climate change policies, then I will not attend. It is my hope that Pope Francis realizes his time is better spent focusing on matters like religious tolerance and the sanctity of all life. As the leader of the Catholic Church, and as a powerful voice for peace throughout the world, His Holiness has a real opportunity to change the climate of slaughter in the Middle East… not the fool’s errand of climate change.
You can read the full explanation here.