Some people refer to Catholics as a flock shepherded by its Pope. But, when it comes to Pope Francis' stand on global warming, the flock may need some extra herding to come around.
Just a day before the Pope released his encyclical on climate change and global warming, Pew Research released the results of a poll asking Democrat, Republican, and Independent Catholics about their stands on the issue.
When asked if the earth is getting warmer, 71% of all Catholics said "yes". This is higher than the general population where only 68% believe that warming exists, but below that 71%, the breakdown between political affiliations of Catholics tells a varied story. The primary reason that the number of Catholics believing in the earth's warming is higher then the general public is because 85% of Catholic Democrats say it's so. On the other hand, only 51% of Catholic Republicans believe it to be the case. 72% of Independents sided more closely with the Democrats by saying 'yes' on warming.
Where Catholics really go off the rails against the Pope is on the question as to whether global warming is man-made and whether its a serious problem.
As far as whether global warming is man-made, 62% of Democrats, 48% of Independents, and 24% of Republicans agree. Overall, only 47% of Catholics believe the warming of the earth is due to man's activities. At the same time, considering it to be a serious problems had almost identical results. Again, it was the Democrats that showed the most concern (64%).
These numbers wouldn't be so bad if most Catholics were Democrats, but, here too, the Pope loses. As this chart from Pew shows, white Catholic political affiliations have become increasingly more Republican while, I assume, Blacks and Hispanics have remained more solidly Democrats:
The bottom line is that Catholics as a whole aren't buying the whole global warming thing because, like the general population, the climate change alarmists have over predicted the impending disasters, and the Pope's encyclical is just more of the same. Because of this, I don't think its going to move the needle very much as far as how many Catholics are embracing climate change.
PewResearch: Catholics Divided Over Global Warming: http://www.pewforum.org/2015/06/16/catholics-divided-over-global-warming/
PewResearch: Politics by Religious Affiliation: http://www.pewforum.org/2012/02/02/trends-in-party-identification-of-religious-groups-affiliation/
Pope Francis, in Sweeping Encyclical, Calls for Swift Action on Climate Change: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/19/world/europe/pope-francis-in-sweeping-encyclical-calls-for-swift-action-on-climate-change.html