Right wing politics in the United States often side with religious leaders as they are normally supportive of conservative principles. The most powerful religious figure in the world does not fall into that category and could spark problems for conservatives when the primary elections get rolling later this year.
Pope Francis is popular around the world because he has many non-traditional views. Some would say that he’s the most progressive pontiff in history, making strange statements about the necessity of belief in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, reaching out to homosexuals, and embracing concepts such as climate change. He even has many Catholics worried that his odd behavior will have an effect on the elections.
According to Politico:
Francis may be popular with the general public, but key Republican primary constituencies — hawks, climate-change skeptics and religious conservatives, including some Catholics, are wary of the pope’s progressivism. Some, pronouncing themselves “Republicans first and Catholics second,” even say they would look askance at a candidate perceived to hew too closely to the bishop of Rome. This internal conflict flips a familiar script, in which Democrats like John Kerry and Joe Biden were labeled “cafeteria Catholics” when their stances on social issues like abortion and gay marriage differed from those of the church.