Former Vice President of the United States Al Gore is considering joining the Catholic Church, inspired by Pope Francis, he revealed at a public discussion at UC Berkeley last year.
“I think that Pope Francis is quite an inspiring figure,” Gore said at the Haas School of Business’ Dean’s Speaker Series at UC Berkeley in early 2015, “really, a phenomenon. I’ve been startled by the clarity of the moral force he embodies.”
“I’ve said publicly in the last year – I was raised in the Southern Baptist tradition – I could become a Catholic because of this Pope, he is that inspiring to me. And I know the vast majority of my Catholic friends are just thrilled to the marrow of their bones that he is providing this kind of spiritual leadership.”
He said this in response to a question about Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si, which had not yet been released at the time.
Here’s a video:
You can watch the full context of his remarks here, starting at 51:12.
Gore has long been a public environmental activist, particularly concerned about climate change. He’s also publicly supported things the Church strongly opposes, such as abortion and gay marriage.
Though he seems sincere in saying it, it’s not clear what Gore has done since he said this. Either way, being open is often an important first step.