WASHNIGTON D.C. (MEDIA GENERAL) – In a historic speech to members of Congress, the Supreme Court and the American people, Pope Francis passionately discussed several issues impacting the United States and the global community.
“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,’” started Pope Francis amid the rare joint gathering of Senate and House members.
The visit to Capitol Hill granted the Holy Father an audience directly with lawmakers who’ve continued to clash on positions including abortion, human rights and income disparity.
“All of us are quite aware of, and deeply worried by, the disturbing social and political situation of the world today,” Francis said while addressing religious extremism in regards to the growing threat of international terrorism.
The speech, delivered without a TelePrompTer and entirely in English, was a reminder of how even amid a divided Congress one man can unite leaders in a common cause.
Outside the capitol, thousands of Francis supporters joined to watch the speech on jumbotrons setup around the National Mall.
Surprisingly the most emotional reactions to Francis’ visit came from members of Congress including Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner who was visibly emotional while Francis spoke from capitol balcony.
Pope Francis is scheduled to spend Thursday night in New York City.
The New York trip will include stops at Madison Square Garden and a parade through Central Park.
Pope Francis will depart for Rome on Sunday after a mass with the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia.