The last time we checked in with Pope Francis, he was preparing an encyclical addressing “the moral cause of climate change.”

A group from the Heartland Institute, which promotes free-market solutions to social and economic problems, was on its way to Rome to present data that would give the pontiff a more science-based perspective than the faith-based theories of climate change activists.

Sadly, the team did not obtain an audience with the Pope. However, they did hold a “Environmental Workshop” in an attempt to formally present information to the public in hopes that it will eventually been seen by the Holy Father.

There were many wonderful talks, but perhaps the most poignant was given by Christopher Monckton, British peer and chief policy advisor to the Science and Public Policy Institute (SPPI).

One speaker, comparing the subject to the 17th century trial by the church of Galileo Galilei, said the pope would demean his office if he put his moral authority behind those fighting climate change.

“You demean the office that you hold and you demean the church whom it is your sworn duty to protect and defend and advance,” British peer Christopher Monckton warned, speaking at the event as if he were talking to Francis directly.

Then, saying that efforts to curtail carbon emissions would most directly affect the poor, Monckton imagined telling the pope: “You will be kicking the poor in the teeth. Stand back and listen to both sides. And do not take sides in politics.”

…Monckton, who was an advisor to British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, started his address by quoting from the Bible at length in Latin, specifically a passage where Jesus tells Pontius Pilate he has come to “bear witness to the truth.”

“It is not the business of the church to stray from the field of faith and morals and wander into the playground that is science,” Monckton said.

How warmly was the information presented in this workshop received by papal officials? The phrase “deep freeze” comes to mind:

Pope Francis’ closest cardinal advisor on Tuesday blasted “movements in the United States” hostile to the pontiff’s forthcoming document on the environment, claiming the criticism is fueled by a form of capitalism protecting its own interests.

“The ideology surrounding environmental issues is too tied to a capitalism that doesn’t want to stop ruining the environment because they don’t want to give up their profits,” said Cardinal Oscar Rodríguez Maradiaga.

Rodríguez is the coordinator of a group of nine cardinals that serves as Pope Francis’ informal cabinet.

In the quest for social justice, the Vatican is supporting scientific injustice.

As a businesswoman whose free-market career is based on companies hiring me to help them protect the environment and their workers, I assert that Cardinal Maradiaga’s heart and head have been hardened. His statements are undeserved smears against millions of Catholic business owners who are proactive about health and safety, like my clients, as well as needlessly insulting to the team of dedicated, impartial, and motivated scientists who came to Rome in good faith.