ROME — As he flew near Caribbean islands devastated by Hurricane Irma on his way back to the Vatican from Colombia on Sunday, Pope Francis said that political leaders and others who denied climate change reminded him of a passage from the psalms about man's stubbornness.
"Man is stupid, the bible said," he said. "It's like that, when you don't want to see, you don't see."
In a typically wide-ranging news conference that included his questioning of President Donald Trump's commitment to issues of life because of his plan to strip unauthorized immigrant children of protections from deportation, the pope urged those who denied climate change to consult scientists who had clearly determined it was real and that humanity would "go down" if global warming was not recognized and addressed.
"Then," he said, "decide and history will judge the decisions."
During Trump's May visit to the Vatican, the pope gave him a copy of his 2015 encyclical letter, Laudato Si, which called for a human response to global warming. Weeks later, Trump pulled out of landmark Paris climate accord.
On the flight, the pope nevertheless appealed again to Trump, this time on his decision to end President Barack Obama's Deferred Action for Children Program, known as DACA. The program allows children brought illegally to the United States to stay without fear of deportation. Trump has given Congress six months to enact legislation to resolve the status of about 800,000 people affected by his decision.
The pope, echoing the excoriation of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, argued that the removal of children from families hurt both children and parents.
"I hope they rethink it a bit," he said. "Because I heard the U.S. president speak. He presents himself as a man who is pro-life. If he is a good pro-life believer he must understand that family is the cradle of life and one must defend its unity," said Francis.