As Pope Francis makes pronouncements that are increasingly more progressive, this poses a problem for Catholic Republicans, Politico
The Vatican recognized Palestine as a state
earlier this month, Pope Francis is expected to release an encyclical
, which is a teaching document, addressing climate change by the end of June, and climate change will also be a topic he is expected to highlight when he addresses Congress in September.
This is in addition to statements the pontiff has made previously about softening the church's views on gay marriage, divorce and birth control.
Catholic and conservative political activist and Iowa state treasure candidate Sam Clovis told Politico that "in northwest Iowa, we are discussing this a great deal, and sometimes it's hard for us to reconcile the pronouncements we read from the Holy Father with our conservative principles."
Politico contends that this may also present a problem for potential Catholic candidates for president such as former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.
Clovis, who also ran for Senate, told Politico that Bush's Catholicism is "going to cause a lot of problems" for him in Iowa "because Republicans are simply not going to take him seriously."
Bush mentioned Pope Francis briefly in his commencement address at Liberty University
in early May.
"I cannot think of any more subversive moral idea ever loosed on the world than 'the last shall be first, and the first last,'" the Florida Republican said. "It's a voice like no other, whether it is captured on scrolls and paper, or in bits of data; seen in the example of Francis the saint, or of Francis the pope."
But, Politico notes that Bush has not addressed how the respect he holds for the pope may affect the support of religious conservatives within the party.
According to Politico, Jindal has both embraced and sidestepped statements made by the pope. After Pope Francis said
that "evolution in nature is not inconsistent with the notion of creation," the Louisiana governor wouldn't say whether or not the statement changed his views on a bill which would give Louisiana public schools the option to teach creationism.
told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt in January that sometimes it's "very difficult" for him to listen to the pontiff, after Pope Francis said that while there is a ban on birth control in the Catholic church, that it doesn't mean Catholics should breed "like rabbits."
Catholic Republicans told Politico that Catholics in the GOP running for president can honor the authority Pope Francis has in the church and safely ignore his opinion on political issues.
"As a Catholic, you always read what the pope has to say, but this would not have to do with faith and morals," New York Rep. Peter King told Politico, concerning the pope's views on climate change.
"This would be a political opinion by the pope, or even a scientific opinion. … The pope is no more qualified on that then he is when he says you have to recognize the Palestinians," King added.
While Rubio has been critical of the pope for his stance on Israel and Cuba, he said in a recent interview with Time Magazine
that what drives Pope Francis is different from that of politician.
"His desire is peace and prosperity, he wants everyone to be better off. He's not a political figure," Rubio told Time. "Anything he can do to open up more opportunities for them, he's going to pursue."
Whereas the concern of "an elected official is the national security of the United States," Rubio added.
In an interview with National Review in April, Bush said
that while Pope Francis has changed the "tone and emphasis" of the church, not to expect "big changes" in doctrine.
He also praised the pontiff for helping to "change the conversation. Because right now, it's just full of land mines," National Review reported.
Clovis told Politico that embracing Pope Francis may help Bush in the general election, because he is widely popular among Americans, but "that's not a primary strategy."
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