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Pope Francis Takes On U.S. Politics

On Wednesday, Pope Francis made his first direct U.S. address to much fanfare and media buzz. When he started, he introduced himself as the son of the kind of "immigrant family" on which America was built--a likely reference to the undocumented immigrant debate taking place in the nation. He also said that he was ready to listen to the "hopes and dreams of the American people." In addition, Pope Francis endorsed President Obama's climate change efforts, as well as his stance on rebuilding ties with Cuba after over five decades of estrangement. Wednesday was the Pope's first full day in the United States. He has a 6-day visit scheduled where he will also address the United Nations and head to Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families.

Furthermore, he emphasized that climate change, income inequality and the immigrant plight are moral issues. He said "I would like all men and women of good will in this great nation to support the efforts of the international community to protect the vulnerable in our world and to stimulate integral and inclusive models of development." Liberals may like that idea, but he also defended traditional values issuing a warning that the institution of marriage and family needed to be protected at "a critical moment in the history of our civilization."

He added that it was right that society was "tolerant and inclusive" but warned that American Catholics were "concerned that efforts to build a just and wisely ordered society respect their deepest concerns and their right to religious liberty. That freedom remains one of America's most precious possessions." As President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama greeted the Pope at the White House, he stepped out of a small black Fiat. Obama said "Holy Father, we are grateful for your invaluable support of our new beginning with the Cuban people, which holds out the promise of better relations between our countries, greater cooperation across our hemisphere, and a better life for the Cuban people." Huge crowds gathered the greet the pontiff.

Photo: Progressive Catholic Voice

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