I was pleased to read that today, the first anniversary of Pope Francis’s leadership of the Catholic Church, Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi invited him to address Congress. Both are Catholic and grasp the profound call for transformation that Pope Francis has urged.
In his Joy of the Gospel, Pope Francis asks us to be people of hope and to engage in dialogue to find ways to heal our fractured world and counter “the globalization of indifference.” Representative Pelosi praised Pope Francis, saying “he has lived his values and upheld his promise to be a moral force, to protect the poor and the needy, to serve as a champion of the less fortunate, and to promote love and understanding among faiths and nations.”
Pope Francis would likely be pleased indeed to hear that today a bipartisan group of senators agreed on a way to extend unemployment benefits to those in need. Amen.
This is Speaker Boehner’s statement requesting that Pope Francis address Congress:
“It is with reverence and admiration that I have invited Pope Francis, as head of state of the Holy See and the first Pope to hail from the Americas, to address a joint meeting of the United States Congress.
“Pope Francis has inspired millions of Americans with his pastoral manner and servant leadership, challenging all people to lead lives of mercy, forgiveness, solidarity, and humble service.
“His tireless call for the protection of the most vulnerable among us—the ailing, the disadvantaged, the unemployed, the impoverished, the unborn—has awakened hearts on every continent.
“His social teachings, rooted in ‘the joy of the gospel,’ have prompted careful reflection and vigorous dialogue among people of all ideologies and religious views in the United States and throughout a rapidly changing world, particularly among those who champion human dignity, freedom, and social justice.
“These principles are among the fundamentals of the American Idea. And though our nation sometimes fails to live up to these principles, at our best we give them new life as we seek the common good. Many in the United States believe these principles are undermined by ‘crony capitalism’ and the ongoing centralization of political power in the institutions of our federal government, which threat