This story is over 5 years old.

Jeb Bush Is Also Not So Keen on the Pope's Concerns About Climate Change

Republican presidential candidate — and Catholic — Jeb Bush says he doesn't take political advice from his bishop, cardinal, or pope.
Photo by Cristobal Herrera/EPA

VICE News is closely tracking global environmental change. Check out the Tipping Point blog here.

Add Jeb Bush to the ranks of Catholic Republicans who don't think their spiritual leader should be wading into the rising waters of debate over how to tackle climate change.

Speaking at a town hall meeting in Derry, New Hampshire, the former Florida governor called Pope Francis a "most extraordinary leader." But, he said religion "ought to be more about making us better as people and less about things that get in the political realm," according to New Hampshire television station WMUR.

The Vatican is expected to weigh in on climate change Thursday with an encyclical from Pope Francis — one of the most authoritative statements of Roman Catholic teaching on the subject, and one that's already been drawing fire from conservative Catholic politicians in the United States. Bush told Tuesday's forum that it's "really cool" that Francis is drawing people back to the church. But, he added, "I don't get economic policy from my bishop, or my cardinal, or my pope."

Bush, the son and brother of two previous presidents, formally announced his campaign for the White House on Monday. Compared to the rest of the GOP field, he's a relative moderate on climate change: He told New Hampshire business leaders in April that climate change was an issue the world had to deal with, but said the rest of the world — not the United States, which despite reductions in the last decade remains the second-biggest source of carbon emissions — is more of a problem.

Related: Rick Santorum doubles down on criticism of the pope's stance on climate change