A leader at the Heartland Institute, a conservative group on skepticism of climate change, on Thursday compared Pope Francis’ focus on the environment to elements of paganism present in Christianity in the Middle Ages.
Gene Koprowski, the director of marketing at the group, spoke at a press conference announcing the Heartland Institute’s plan to join a coalition “challenging the pope’s views on global warming and the nature of capitalism.”
“While we initially thought it was bad advisors, I think that something more may be afoot,” Koprowski said while discussing the pope’s encyclical on the environment, according to video recorded by the liberal American Bridge 21st Century PAC.
He then referenced the medieval Feast of Fools, festivals with pagan origins held by Christians, in which festival-goers would elect a mock pope. The Catholic church eventually put an end to the festivals.
“It was a medieval festival, where masqueraders with grotesque masks took over the church and elected what was called a ‘fool’s pope,'” Koprowski said on Thursday. “This is a pagan ritual, pagan remnants that were seeping into the church. One of them also was ‘nature worship.’ What is environmentalism but nature worship?”
He then suggested that Pope Francis’ focus on the environment shows that paganism is making its way back into the Catholic church.
“I’m wondering, as a scholar, if pagan forms are returning to the church this day,” he said. “I think that if we have a pope who doesn’t view things in the orthodox manner, we’re going to be having forms returning to religion that are not orthodox.”
“This is not communism that has entered the church, it’s rather paganism,” Koprowski added.
Later, Koprowski was asked if he was accusing Pope Francis of being a “false pope.”
“Oh no,” he responded, adding that religions, like Christianity, have “forms,” such as the savior.
“This is more of a minor form, and this form is a false church within the church. And a false election within the church. And so what I’m saying is, just as in the Middle Ages when they had sort of a false belief in paganism and naturalism they had to tamp down by the Vatican, that’s the same thing that’s happening today, except we don’t have anybody tamping it down at the time,” Koprowski said. “When you let orthodoxy slip, and you don’t protect orthodoxy, you get chaos.”