Yesterday marked the Pope’s first visit to the United States. Pope Francis has already spoken in Washington D.C., and tomorrow he will address Congress before visiting New York City and Philadelphia.
The last time a Pope visited was in 2008, but things are a bit different this time. While the Pope’s visit has always been a revered occasion, Pope Francis brings a breath of fresh air with him, and Catholics and non-Catholics alike are marking the monumental occasion.
Pope Francis has been received as the peoples’ Pope. He lives with very little mean for a Pope, can be seen shopping for eyeglasses like the average human, and even rides around in a smart car. He carries his own luggage. He isn’t afraid to mingle with the people and doesn’t hold himself in a higher regard than the rest of the Catholic world. As a Cardinal before he was elected as the Pope, he would ride public transportation to and from work, and wasn’t afraid to serve the most dangerous and impoverished communities.
Pope Francis even stopped his motorcade in order to get out of his car and bless a disabled child. While the blessing isn’t a new move for a pope, putting the people before himself with disregard for his own well-being is a new step for a pope.
It’s not just his personality that has everyone won over, but his morals. He’s seen as a progressive Pope, speaking for the masses and swaying from well-known Catholic values. While Pope Francis doesn’t necessarily condone actions that are against the teachings of the Bible, he is adamant to point out that there can always be progress and a new way to do things. When asked about same-sex marriage, he pointed out that God loves everyone.
Now in Washington D.C, Pope Francis addressed 15,000 people in front of the White House, and even addressed political issues.
“During my visit I will have the honor of addressing Congress, where I hope, as a brother of this country, to offer words of encouragement to those called to guide the nation’s political future in fidelity to its founding principles.”
He also spoke about “one of America’s most precious possessions,” religious freedom.
He spoke on climate change, urging Americans as well as the rest of the world to take a stand to correct the problem before it is too late.
Pope Francis will speak more during his visit to the US, but most notably will be his speech to Congress tomorrow at 10 a.m.