Pope Francis is urging U.S. lawmakers to embrace immigration. Addressing a deeply divided U.S. Congress, the Pontiff said nations should not fear foreigners. He added, "Most of us were once foreigners."
That line was a crowd-pleaser for Democrats. Republicans cheered when the Pope spoke out against abortion, saying every life is sacred. He argued that human life must be protected and defended at every stage of its development. Francis also insisted that the death penalty must be abolished.
The Pontiff argued that global climate change is real and is caused by human activity. He called for a more aggressive response to climate change. Francis urged U.S. lawmakers to work more closely together for the common good. He said lawmakers are called on to defend and preserve the dignity of fellow citizens. The Pope argued that religious, intellectual and individual freedoms must be protected around the world. He said the world must curb violence perpetrated in the name of any religion, an ideology or an economic system.
It was an historic event as no Pope has ever addressed a joint meeting of Congress before. Some justices of the Supreme Court were in the House Chamber, along with members of President Obama's Cabinet. The event was similar to a presidential State of the Union address, with House Speaker John Boehner [[ BAY-nur ]] and Vice President Joe Biden sitting behind the Pontiff. Boehner and Biden are Catholics.