California Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer went after a Catholic priest in a Wednesday hearing for supposedly questioning the pope’s statements on the dangers of man-made global warming.

“So do you disagree with the pope when he says that climate change is one of the biggest issues,” Boxer asked Father Robert Sirico of the conservative Acton Institute.

“I’m very grateful for your defense of the pope. Perhaps not in all of his magisterial authority and the cherry-picking of this or that,” Sirico tried to respond before being interrupted by Boxer.

“I can ask you what I want,” she said. “Do you disagree with the pope on climate change, it’s a simple yes or no.”

Boxer, who is Jewish, was trying to get Sirico to say he disagreed with the pope on global warming. Last year, Pope Francis published an encyclical blaming humans for global warming and calling the Earth “an immense pile of filth.”

Environmentalists and Democrats were overjoyed with the encyclical. Former Vice President Al Gore even said he could convert to Catholicism because of the pope’s global warming activism.

Francis’s encyclical was not well-received by more conservative Catholics in the U.S., who saw it as out of place for the pontiff to speak out on a scientific issue — let alone an issue he was advised on by academics who support population control.

“When the pope says things that have to do with science, he does not speak from the magisterial authority of the church. When he speaks on moral issues, such as abortion and contraception and the like, then he speaks on magisterial authority,” Sirico responded before again being interrupted.

“So who’s cherry-picking?” Boxer said. “You’re saying that when the planet is facing all these problems, it’s not a moral issue.”

“I never said that,” Sirico said. “Where did I say that? Could you give me that quotation, senator?”

“You just said it, sir,” she said. “Sir, you receive money form the Koch brothers, from Exxon, you disagree with the pope… I think you ought to have a talk with Reverend Nelson.”

“Who is by the way, not a scientist,” Sirico responded.

Boxer was referring to the the Presbyterian minister who also paneled the hearing. Nelson told Congress he’s worry about global warming’s impacts and encouraged policymakers to push more wind and solar energy onto the grid.“

[T]here is no greater measure of God’s abundant provision than that of the energy provided by the sun and wind,” Nelson said, according to his prepared remarks.


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