Francis to be first pontiff to address a joint meeting of Congress

The pope has accepted an invitation extended by House Speaker John Boehner last March; will address Congress on Sept. 24th

Various media outlets are reporting that Pope Francis is going to address members of Congress on September 24th, accepting an invitation to do so extended to him last March by House Speaker John Boehner. The NPR site reports:

“We’re humbled that the Holy Father has accepted our invitation and certainly look forward to receiving his message on behalf of the American people,” the Ohio Republican told reporters.

In addition to his trip to Capitol Hill, Francis plans to travel to Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families as well as to New York to visit the United Nations.

Roughly one-third of the members of Congress are Catholic, according to the Pew Research Center. Both leaders of the House of Representatives, Boehner and Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, are Catholic.

Pelosi said in a statement, “We are eager to welcome His Holiness to the U.S. Capitol and we look forward to hearing his call to live our values, to protect the poor and the needy, and to promote peace.”

Pelosi, of course, has a long and consistent record of supporting abortion and contraception, and last summer had the temerity to tell her archbishop to not support Catholic teaching about marriage. Perhaps she’ll attempt the same with Francis?
NPR provides this historical note: “Francis would not be the first pope to visit the U.S. capital. Pope John Paul II traveled to Washington, D.C., in 1979, and Pope Benedict XVI visited the capital in 2008.”

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About Carl E. Olson 1190 Articles
Carl E. Olson is editor of Catholic World Report and Ignatius Insight. He is the author of Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead?, Will Catholics Be "Left Behind"?, co-editor/contributor to Called To Be the Children of God, co-author of The Da Vinci Hoax (Ignatius), and author of the "Catholicism" and "Priest Prophet King" Study Guides for Bishop Robert Barron/Word on Fire. His recent books on Lent and Advent—Praying the Our Father in Lent (2021) and Prepare the Way of the Lord (2021)—are published by Catholic Truth Society. He is also a contributor to "Our Sunday Visitor" newspaper, "The Catholic Answer" magazine, "The Imaginative Conservative", "The Catholic Herald", "National Catholic Register", "Chronicles", and other publications. Follow him on Twitter @carleolson.