Pope’s visit inspires
Many throughout the United States have had their eyes on the White House this week with the visit of Pope Francis.
Francis will visit Philadelphia this weekend for a world meeting, giving more Americans the opportunity to hear him and feel his presence here on U.S. soil.
The excitement Catholics and non-Catholics alike have for Pope Francis’ visit is both captivating and contagious. He may be short in stature but he packs a large punch with his overall demeanor. His kindness, generosity and way with words will leave their mark.
While in Washington, D.C., Pope Francis addressed those gathered on the White House lawn and has addressed a joint session of Congress.
While in the White House, he made his scruples known by discussing climate change and immigration, denouncing arms sales and seemed to allude approvingly to the Iran nuclear deal and recent actions by President Barack Obama’s administration to open relations with Cuba.
Francis touched on key issues in the United States, but he avoided any reference to Planned Parenthood. Instead he alluded in passing to the Catholic Church’s opposition to abortion when he noted, “our responsibility to protect and defend human life at every stage of its development.”
He reminded the representatives and senators that they have been called to work that “is always based on care for the people.”
Even though Francis’ ideals speak more to the Democratic party, our Republican senator, Thad Cochran, was appreciative of his visit and message of service above self.
“I am grateful to have had a chance to listen to Pope Francis, whose basic message of mercy and care for the least among us underscores fundamental characteristics of our American culture,” he said. “Mississippians are well acquainted with those traits. They are exhibited in our dedication to charity and work to help those in need, not only in times of disaster, but every day. His message of service is a valuable one, and I hope that Pope Francis’ words will continue to inspire.”
Later, while at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City, Francis mentioned the clergy sex-abuse crisis and consoled clergy for the suffering the scandal had caused them.
Francis told members of religious orders and diocesan priests he was aware they had “suffered greatly” by having to “bear the shame” of clergy who had molested children. He thanked them for their faithful service to the church in the face of the scandal.
Francis on every step of the way, including while leading Mass, will lead and encourage Americans with his faith and if even a handful of people watching him are inspired to serve their fellow man after listening to him, America will be a better place.