Highlights from the Pope’s Address to the U.S. Congress

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    Pope Francis’s visit to the U.S. has been causing quite a stir. Read some key points from his address here at TCRN.

    Pope Francis began his remarks with a brief discussion of the responsibilities of the Legislative Branch:

    [quote_box_center]“Each son or daughter of a given country has a mission, a personal and social responsibility. Your own responsibility as members of Congress is to enable this country, by your legislative activity, to grow as a nation. You are the face of its people, their representatives. You are called to defend and preserve the dignity of your fellow citizens in the tireless and demanding pursuit of the common good, for this is the chief aim of all politics.”[/quote_box_center]

    He then addressed a few groups of people specifically:

    [quote_box_center]“I would like to take this opportunity to dialogue with the many thousands of men and women who strive each day to do an honest day’s work, to bring home their daily bread, to save money and — one step at a time — to build a better life for their families… They generate solidarity by their actions, and they create organizations which offer a helping hand to those most in need.”[/quote_box_center]

    [quote_box_center]“I would also like to enter into dialogue with the many elderly persons who are a storehouse of wisdom forged by experience, and who seek in many ways, especially through volunteer work, to share their stories and their insights.”[/quote_box_center]

    [quote_box_center]“I also want to dialogue with all those young people who are working to realize their great and noble aspirations, who are not led astray by facile proposals, and who face difficult situations, often as a result of immaturity on the part of many adults.”[/quote_box_center]

    He did not shy away from accusations against the church:

    [quote_box_center]“All of us are quite aware of, and deeply worried by, the disturbing social and political situation of the world today. Our world is increasingly a place of violent conflict, hatred and brutal atrocities, committed even in the name of God and of religion. We know that no religion is immune from forms of individual delusion or ideological extremism. This means that we must be especially attentive to every type of fundamentalism, whether religious or of any other kind.” [/quote_box_center]

    Instead, he offered these wise words on over-simplification of conflict:

    [quote_box_center]“We must especially guard against the simplistic reductionism which sees only good or evil; or, if you will, the righteous and sinners. The contemporary world, with its open wounds which affect so many of our brothers and sisters, demands that we confront every form of polarization which would divide it into these two camps… The complexity, the gravity and the urgency of these challenges demand that we pool our resources and talents, and resolve to support one another, with respect for our differences and our convictions of conscience.” [/quote_box_center]

    Then he tackled the big topics, like indigenous rights

    [quote_box_center]“We, the people of this continent, are not fearful of foreigners, because most of us were once foreigners. I say this to you as the son of immigrants, knowing that so many of you are also descended from immigrants. Tragically, the rights of those who were here long before us were not always respected.”[/quote_box_center]

    and the European Refugee Crisis

    [quote_box_center]“When the stranger in our midst appeals to us, we must not repeat the sins and the errors of the past. We must resolve now to live as nobly and as justly as possible, as we educate new generations not to turn their back on our “neighbors” and everything around us… Our world is facing a refugee crisis of a magnitude not seen since the Second World War…”[/quote_box_center]

    not to mention the exodus happening right here across the Americas:

    [quote_box_center]“On this continent, too, thousands of persons are led to travel north in search of a better life for themselves and for their loved ones, in search of greater opportunities. Is this not what we want for our own children? We must not be taken aback by their numbers, but rather view them as persons, seeing their faces and listening to their stories, trying to respond as best we can to their situation.”[/quote_box_center]

    Pope Francis spoke out about the death penalty…

    [quote_box_center]“The Golden Rule also reminds us of our responsibility to protect and defend human life at every stage of its development.This conviction has led me, from the beginning of my ministry, to advocate at different levels for the global abolition of the death penalty. I am convinced that this way is the best, since every life is sacred, every human person is endowed with an inalienable dignity, and society can only benefit from the rehabilitation of those convicted of crimes.”[/quote_box_center]

    about global poverty:

    [quote_box_center]“I know that you share my conviction that much more still needs to be done, and that in times of crisis and economic hardship a spirit of global solidarity must not be lost. At the same time I would encourage you to keep in mind all those people around us who are trapped in a cycle of poverty. They too need to be given hope.”[/quote_box_center]

    and about environmental conservation:

    [quote_box_center]“The right use of natural resources, the proper application of technology and the harnessing of the spirit of enterprise are essential elements of an economy which seeks to be modern, inclusive and sustainable.”[/quote_box_center]

    All in all, Pope Francis’s speech was nothing short of an effort to change the disparaging patterns of the world. His advice and encouragement are words that can be applied to not just the United States, but the world. Nevertheless, one can’t help but think, what would this address sound like if it was done here? What would Pope Francis say to Costa Rica?

    Full transcript available via CNN.

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