President Donald Trump's exit from the Paris accord on combating climate change drew criticism from a Vatican official.
"If he really does (exit the agreement), it would be a huge slap in the face for us. It will be a disaster for everyone," Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo told a Rome newspaper hours before Trump's announcement, according to The Huffington Post.
Sorondo, the head of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, said that he believes U.S. oil interests are the reason Trump decided to exit the agreement. The exit "would not only be a disaster, but completely unscientific," Sorondo said in the paper.
"Saying that we need to rely on coal and oil is like saying that the earth is not round. It is an absurdity dictated by the need to make money," Sorono added in the newspaper, according to HuffPost.
Pope Francis met with Trump last week, and the pope gave the president his 2015 encyclical on the importance of protecting the environment.
"Humanity is called to recognize the need for changes of lifestyle, production, and consumption, in order to combat this warming, or at least the human causes which produce or aggravate it," Pope Francis wrote in the encyclical, according to HuffPost.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on Thursday released a statement expressing regret about Trump's decision, calling it "deeply troubling."
"The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, along with Pope Francis and the entire Catholic Church, have consistently upheld the Paris agreement as an important international mechanism to promote environmental stewardship and encourage climate change mitigation," the statement said.
Cardinal Peter Turkson, the pope's environmental point man, said in March that Trump should listen to "dissenting voices" and stay in the agreement, according to Reuters.
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