The first words of Pope Francis in the United States were about immigration
“As the son of an immigrant family, I am happy to be a guest in this country, which was largely built by such families,” said the Pope earlier today during his speech at the White House, where he was received by President Barack Obama.
“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 added.
Pope Francis will travel to Philadelphia on Saturday to participate in the Eighth World Meeting of Families. That same day he will deliver a speech about immigration at Independence Hall in Old City.
In regards to religious freedom, Pope Francis said:
“American Catholics are committed to building a society which is truly tolerant and inclusive, to safeguarding the rights of individuals and communities, and to rejecting every form of unjust discrimination. With countless other people of good will, they are likewise concerned that efforts to build a just and wisely ordered society respect their deepest concerns and their right to religious liberty”.
The pope also commended President Obama for his proposed initiative for reducing air pollution.
“Accepting the urgency, it seems clear to me also that climate change is a problem which can no longer be left to a future generation,” said Pope Francis. “We still have time to make the changes needed to bring about “a sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change.”