Speaking in English to lawmakers and other dignitaries packed into the House of Representatives, Pope Francis said America should not be put off by the number of immigrants who are trying to make it their home. As Democrats stood and applauded the pope’s optimistic tone, many Republicans sat silently. “Here we mourn the wrongful and senseless loss of innocent lives because of the inability to find solutions which respect the common good”, he said.
In his comments to Congress, Pope Francis also lambasted violence committed in the name of God and religion, saying that “no religion is immune from forms of individual delusion or ideological extremism”. Francis caused a major stir in 2013 when he told reporters, “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?”
But more than dwelling on our disagreements, the Pope spoke on how to address our challenges.
Like many tourists visiting the Big Apple for the first time, Pope Francis plans to stop by Harlem, Rockefeller Center and Central Park during his visit to New York City. He pushed for the end of the death penalty and the protection of “human life at every stage of its development”.
At least one Republican congressman was displeased with Pope Francis’s speech to Congress – not for what was in it, but for what was absent.
Liberals had to be heartened by his call to abolish the death penalty around the world, and when he encouraged members to use their clout to help save the environment. Just 26 percent of the 1,832 adults polled September 17-21 said they disagreed with Francis’ call. The pope has said he will allow priests to grant absolution for abortion, which the Catholic Church views as a grave sin. But others said his message of compassion and acceptance has resonated with many Catholics and non-Catholics alike. They cried, you saw members of Congress openly weeping to having tears in their eyes and the excitement and the applause that he was met with, especially when he said the golden rule. “That is something at the core of a lot of the problems we are having right now in Congress, our political system and in our country in general”.