Pope Francis Speaks to US Congress by DonkeyHotey via flickr and used under a Creative Commons license

Having returned from his trip to the U.S. where he addressed Congress, Pope Francis on Tuesday issued an encyclical from the Vatican warning of “man-made Global Dumbing.”

“It disturbs me beyond belief the level of intelligence quotient that I encountered during my visit to the U.S., especially in the Republican-led Congress, where I’m guessing the average IQ must be in the high 70s or low 80s, at best,” Francis said, through an interpreter. “That’s unacceptable.”

Ted Josephs, a spokesman for Mensa International, the genius organization, said that the Pope’s estimate means that the average Congressman may have trouble deciding which shoe goes on which foot when getting dressed in the morning.

“That sounds extreme, but have you been watching these guys, lately?” said Josephs. “I’m not sure they could find their own butt in the shower.”

Republicans reacted strongly to the Pope’s announcement saying he has no expertise in intelligence and should stick to religion. “It’s another case of Papal overreach,” said Texas Senator Ted Cruz. “It’s an attack on I.Q. freedom in this country.”

In his encyclical (“Laudato Si, Mi Signore, Ma Le Tue Creature Manca L’intellegenza”) – which, translated from the Italian, means “Praise be to you, my Lord, but your creatures lack intelligence” — Francis said he had heard about the lack of intelligence in Congress before his visit, but he figured it was American’s “famous sense of humor, the nation’s gift for self-deprecation in the worst of times.”

“But when I got there, I thought Oy Vey,” he said through an interpreter.

In June, Francis issued an encyclical calling for a united global effort to fend off climate change and the destruction of the environment. Many Republican members of Congress, who are Catholic, dismissed it as the idle ramblings of a man who has too much time on his hands and doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about.

Former Pennsylvania Senator and presidential candidate Rick Santorum, a devout Catholic, told a Philadelphia radio station back then that “the church has gotten it wrong a few times on science. We probably are better off leaving science to the scientists, and focusing on what we’re really good at, which is theology and morality.”

The Pope specifically cited Santorum in his encyclical as an example of a Republican’s dumbing down of the planet. On the one hand, Santorum is telling the Pope to listen to scientists. On the other hand, Santorum, himself, has repeatedly rejected scientific proof of climate change.

“Egli e un numb skull come una chaive inglese,” Pope Francis wrote in his encyclical, which translates into: “He is a numb skull like a lug wrench.”

Image: Pope Francis Speaks to US Congress by DonkeyHotey via flickr and used under a Creative Commons license.
Jeffry Scott

Jeffry Scott

Jeffry Scott is a former staff reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution where, over the course of 24 years, he covered two of the biggest trials in the city's history -- the racketeering trial of former mayor Bill Campbell, and the trial of courthouse shooter, Brian Nichols -- and wrote features on travel, food, politics, movies, TV and advertising, and covered breaking news on the metro desk. He left the paper two years ago and is living, quite happily, in St. Petersburg, Fla., as a freelance writer.