Ahead of the publication of the encyclical on the environment, the presidential hopeful said Francis should stay out of politics

The Republican presidential hopeful Jeb Bush has said that Pope Francis should stay out of politics.

According to a report in the Huffington Post, the former Governor of Florida, told a town hall meeting in New Hampshire yesterday, that he thought the Pope should stay out of the “political realm” and said that he was a “little sceptical” of taking advice from the Vatican on climate change, in a reference to the Pope’s upcoming encyclical.

Mr Bush, who is a convert to Catholicism, said: “I hope I’m not like, going to get castigated for saying this in front of my priest back home but I don’t get economic policy from my bishops or my cardinals or my pope.”

He added: “The climate is changing, whether men are doing it or not.”

But according to a Reuters report, vice president, Joe Biden, who is also a Catholic, is more sympathetic to the Pope’s intervention and cited his enclyclical, Laudato Si, in a clean energy conference at the White House on Tuesday.

“Usually encyclicals are only issued the Church thinks are incredibly important initiatives,” he said, before adding that fighting climate change “doesn’t only have a moral component to it, it has a security component to it, as well as it has an economic component to it.”

A draft of Pope’s Francis’s encyclical was leaked on Monday evening by the Italian magazine L’Espresso.

Pope Francis describes climate change as one of the “principal challenges” facing humanity and says it is mainly caused by human activity in his encyclical on the environment, according to the leaked draft.

The leaking of the draft by L’Espresso has been described as a “heinous act” by a Vatican spokesman, who also said that the leaked document was “not the final text”.

According to a translation by the Wall Street Journal of the 192 page document, the Pope says there is a “very consistent scientific consensus that we are in the presence of an alarming warming of the climatic system.”

Laudato Si will be officially released at a press conference in the Vatican’s synod hall tomorrow.