Santorum Defends Comments on the Pope and Climate Change

Rick Santorum, allegedly loyal Catholic, recently said that Pope Francis should stop talking about climate change because he’s not a scientist. Chris Wallace of Fox News pointed out to Santorum that he isn’t either and Santorum tried lamely to defend his incoherent position.

“If he’s not a scientist — and in fact, he does have a degree in chemistry — neither are you?” host Chris Wallace asked Santorum Sunday. “So, I guess the question would be, if he shouldn’t talk about it, should you?”

Santorum defended his discussions about climate change by distinguishing politicians from church leaders.

“Politicians, whether we like it or not, people in government have to make decision with regard to public policy that affect American workers,” Santorum said, adding that while “the pope can talk about whatever he wants to talk about,” he questions the Pope’s use of his moral authority to combat the issue of climate change.

“I’m saying, what should the pope use his moral authority for?” Santorum asked. “I think there are more pressing problems confronting the earth than climate change.”

Actually, there aren’t. But the reason he sounds so incoherent about this is because he’s trying to avoid making it obvious that his real position here is that the pope should stop speaking about issues on which he thinks the pope is wrong. I’ve never heard him say that the pope should stay out of political issues like same-sex marriage or abortion. He just wants him to shut up when he disagrees with him. But he can’t say that because that makes him look bad, so he has to invent these absurd pretexts to make his argument.

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  • tbp1

    Yes, when conservative Catholics agree with the Pope, they want other Catholics to just shut up and obey him (hell, they want the rest of us to just shut up and obey, for that matter), no questions asked.

    But when they don’t agree with the Pope, suddenly he’s a just another guy, no more infallible or immune to criticism than anyone else.

  • raven

    It’s simple.

    Rick Satanorum wants to be a New Dark Age Pope.

    Unfortunately for him, the Catholics already have a Pope!!! Besides, no one except Rick Satanorum wants him to be a New Dark Age Pope or any other responsible position.

    Guy is a warped sociopath.

  • Anna Elizabeth

    “Frothy Cultist says that the Glorious Leader of his Child-raping Cult is wrong about science.”

  • Artor

    That’s odd. Santorum has never avoided statements that make him look bad before.

  • John Pieret

    so he has to invent these absurd pretexts to make his argument.

    … which still make him look bad.

  • iain

    “Politicians, whether we like it or not, people in government have to make decision with regard to public policy that affect American workers,”

    And those politicians regularly use “I am not a scientist” to stifle debate and justify those stupid decisions. Politicians in the Senate voted that climate change was not caused by humans.

    Politicians – especially the Republican variety – have proven themselves the worst possible group to make decisions on this topic.

  • doublereed

    Eh, Santorum’s always been an incoherent weasel. He’s a coward on all fronts.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    Santorum defended his discussions about climate change by distinguishing politicians from church leaders.

    His Royal Popeness is the head of state of Vatican City. And I think it’s fair to label Santorum a former politician.

  • corporal klinger

    Also, the pope is infallible, isn’t he?

    ( I know, he is supposed infallible only on theological matters, but, come on…….)

  • grumpyoldfart

    Perhaps the Pope can explain the chemical processes taking place when wine turns into blood.

    Or perhaps not: the Pope never went to university so his “degree” in chemistry can’t be anything very special.

  • busterggi

    Its tough to be the real Pope and not get recognised isn’t it Rick?

  • eric

    @9: only when speaking ex cathedra, which hasn’t been done officially since around 1950. Though Wikipedia tells me some church authorities consider one of PJP II’s documents (affirming only men can be priests) to be ex cathedra, even though PJP II didn’t claim at the time he was doing that.

  • corporal klinger

    #12 eric

    Way back in time, somewhere, in a group of hunter-gatherers, a guy figured out a way to convince his fellow hunterers that he could talk to the hunter god for a good hunt and ever since, they have developped the art of braintwisting hokum to true mastery. So, I don’t really give a shit about what he has to say ex-cathedra or in-cathedra.

    However, I applaud his firm stand on poverty and income injustice.

  • moarscienceplz

    people in government have to make decision with regard to public policy that affect American workers,” Santorum said

    So if you lose your job, are retired, disabled, or a child, public policy isn’t for you.

  • theguy

    “people in government have to make decision with regard to public policy that affect American workers”

    Climate change will affect American workers. Oh, wait, he means “job creators” who apparently need another tax cut.

  • grasshopper

    Thank Christ Santorum acknowledges that he is not a scientist, and therefore should not pronounce about scientific matters. And now I daresay that because he is not a theologian he shall not pronounce about god and religion. What an exemplar to other Republican candidates he will be.

  • pixiedust

    Just for the record, Santorum is not a person in government.

  • grasshopper

    Over at Recursivity, Jeffrey Shallit expands further upon [who is]/[who is not] qualified to comment upon science.

  • http://www.facebook.com/den.wilson d.c.wilson

    Santorum’s problem is that he knows his position is full of shit, so the only counter argument he can make to the Pope is to tell him to shut up.

  • captain_spleen

    “Or perhaps not: the Pope never went to university so his “degree” in chemistry can’t be anything very special.”

    Apparently it was more of a technical high school, and after graduating with a chemistry tech diploma, he worked as a tech in a couple of laboratory-type environments.

    Not a science degree, and not a college degree, but at least it’s science-adjacent.