The former vice president appeared on CNN, as part of a live town hall discussion about climate change:
Glenmary Father John S. Rausch appeared on CNN Aug. 1 as part of a climate change town hall event with former United States Vice President Al Gore.
After being introduced by host Anderson Cooper, Father John said his experience as a priest in Appalachia has led him to believe the climate crisis is a crisis in spirituality.
“There are many who are living in poverty, and they’re not only living in poverty, they’re living right next to polluted streams and mountains that have been destroyed,” Father John said. “Mr. Vice President, how can we influence people to see a spiritual connection in their consumer habits (so) that they can see the consequences of their buying, the consequences have on people in Appalachia and also in other parts of God’s kingdom?”
Before delving into his response, Gore took a moment to thank Father John for his ministry, and expressed admiration for the Holy Father, Pope Francis. Echoing comments he made at a town hall event in 2015, Gore reiterated that Pope Francis could inspire him to become a Catholic.
“Well, thank you, Father. And thank you for what you do. I’m a Protestant, but I’ll tell you, because of Pope Francis, I really could become a Catholic. He is really an amazing spiritual leader.”
Gore, who was raised a Soutnern Baptist, went on to recommend that people of all faith traditions should read Pope Francis encyclical Laudato Si.
“Now I was taught in my church that the purpose of life is to glorify God and if we are heaping contempt on God’s creation, then we’re not living up to the duty that God is calling us to. And so this — the way we live our lives is definitely connected to this. It is — it’s not a political issue, it is a moral and spiritual issue. And thank you for bringing that up.”