5 Powerful Moments From Pope Francis’ Congressional Address

“We, the people of this continent, are not fearful of foreigners, because most of us were once foreigners,” the pontiff says about anti-immigration sentiments in America

Last Updated: September 24, 2015 @ 5:35 PM

Pope Francis gave a powerful speech in front of a joint session of Congress on Thursday, drawing many moments of rousing applause during remarks about uniting the U.S. and confronting social and economic injustice.

Francis, who’s become one of the most politically active religious leaders in recent memory, received a standing ovation right out of the gate for a nod to America’s national anthem.

“I am most grateful for your invitation to address this joint session of Congress in ‘the land of the free and the home of the brave,'” the Argentine-born pope said.

Here are 5 of the most powerful moments from Pope Francis’ speech.

1. Guns and Blood Money
In one of the more forceful sections of his speech, the Pope took on the issue of gun violence in the U.S.

“Why are deadly weapons being sold to those who plan to inflict untold suffering on individuals and society?” he asked before answering his own question.

“Sadly, the answer, as we all know, is simply for money: money that is drenched in blood, often innocent blood.”

2. Pope vs. Trump?
Francis took direct aim at the rising anti-immigrant sentiment in the U.S., fueled by presidential candidates like Donald Trump. While the pope didn’t mention anyone by name, his remarks seemed to have a subtle hint.

“We, the people of this continent, are not fearful of foreigners, because most of us were once foreigners,” he said to a standing ovation. The pope, born Jorge Mario Bergoglio, is himself the son of Italian immigrants to Argentina.

This comment is already being analyzed across TV news networks, setting up more fuel for the immigration debate throughout the 2016 presidential campaign.

3. Economic Slavery
Income inequality received much attention during Pope Francis’ remarks; he invoked terms like “slave” to describe the conditions many Americans face.

“Politics … cannot be a slave to the economy and finance… I would encourage you to keep in mind all those people around us who are trapped in a cycle of poverty,” he said. “The fight against poverty and hunger must be fought constantly and on many fronts, especially in its causes.”

He called on politicians to do more to create a more equitable economic playing field.

“If politics must truly be at the service of the human person, it follows that it cannot be a slave to the economy and finance. Politics is, instead, an expression of our compelling need to live as one, in order to build as one the greatest common good: that of a community which sacrifices particular interests in order to share, in justice and peace, its goods, its interests, its social life. I do not underestimate the difficulty that this involves, but I encourage you in this effort.”

4. Remember the Golden Rule — on Immigration and Abortion
Pope Francis didn’t shy away from some of the biggest hotbed social issues in the U.S., making references to the abortion and the death penalty.

“Let us remember the Golden Rule, do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” he said. He also referenced the dignity of all human life, which predictably drew a standing ovation from Republican lawmakers in the audience, though he also called for the abolition of the death penalty.

“The Golden Rule also reminds us of our responsibility to protect and defend human life at every stage of its development,” he said.

5. America Still a Land of Dreams
In a nod to Martin Luther King Jr., Pope Francis said that despite the challenges the U.S. faces, the nation is still a beacon of hope for the world.

“I am happy that American continues to be a land of dreams,” he said. He also made other statements that spoke of uniting a divided country, particularly in the halls of Congress.

“A good political leader always opts to initiate processes rather than possessing spaces,” he said about lawmakers needing to come together. “Politics is, instead, an expression of our compelling need to live as one, in order to build as one the greatest common good…”


Keep
Reading...

Looks like you’re enjoying reading
Keep reading by creating
a free account or logging in.