Pope Francis ally says Trump exit from climate accord would be a ‘slap’ in the face

President Trump stands next to Pope Francis during a private audience at the Vatican on May 24, 2017. Photo courtesy of Reuters/Evan Vucci/Pool

VATICAN CITY (RNS) One of the pope’s closest allies says it would be a “slap in the face” for Francis if President Trump pulls the U.S. out of the Paris climate accord so soon after the two leaders met at the Vatican.

“If Donald Trump really decides to pull the U.S. out of the Paris accord it will be a disaster for everyone,” Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, who heads the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Sciences, told the Italian daily La Repubblica.

At their historic meeting last week, the pope gave Trump a copy of three documents, including his 2015 encyclical, “Laudato Si’,” which warns of the grave consequences caused by climate change and highlights how it’s aggravated by human activity. The president responded by promising, “I will read them.”

Sanchez Sorondo said the Vatican’s secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, cautioned Trump in a separate meeting against leaving the Paris accord.

“If he really does (pull out), it would be a huge slap in the face for us,” Sanchez Sorondo, who like the pope is from Argentina, said in the interview published Thursday (June 1).

“I believe the oil lobby is behind it. They are pushing for it.  In any case it is a view, like (German Chancellor) Angela Merkel said many times, it would not only be a disaster but completely anti-scientific.”

Trump said he would make his decision on the accord on Thursday afternoon. He pledged during the presidential campaign last year to pull the U.S. out of the accord, which was endorsed by nearly 200 countries in 2015.

About the author

Josephine McKenna

Josephine McKenna has more than 30 years' experience in print, broadcast and interactive media. Based in Rome since 2007, she covered the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI and election of Pope Francis and canonizations of their predecessors. Now she covers all things Vatican for RNS.