In the first ever address of a Pope before a joint meeting of Congress, Francis calls upon lawmakers to participate in efforts to to address climate change, the Syrian migrant crisis, and the decline of the American family.
Your own responsibility as members of Congress is to enable this country, by your legislative activity, to grow as a nation. You are the face of its people, their representatives. You are called to defend and preserve the dignity of your fellow citizens in the tireless and demanding pursuit of the common good, for this is the chief aim of all politics.
On religious extremism:
A delicate balance is required to combat violence perpetrated in the name of a religion, an ideology or an economic system, while also safeguarding religious freedom, intellectual freedom and individual freedoms. But there is another temptation which we must especially guard against: the simplistic reductionism which sees only good or evil; or, if you will, the righteous and sinners. To imitate the hatred and violence of tyrants and murderers is the best way to take their place. That is something which you, as a people, reject. Our response must instead be one of hope and healing, of peace and justice.
We the people of this continent, are not fearful of foreigners, because most of us were once foreigners…We must resolve now to live as nobly and as justly as possible, as we educate new generations not to turn their back on our “neighbors” and everything around us.