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     Home > Culture and Society  >  2014-03-14 16:46:27
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Pope invited to address US Congress

March 14, 2014 - The speaker of the United States House of Representatives, John Boehner has invited Pope Francis to address a joint meeting of 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." Boehner said in a statement. "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," added Boehner, who is Catholic. The US House speaker said he had extended an open and formal invitation to the pontiff. In his statement, Boehner highlighted the pope's call for the protection of the most vulnerable _ the ailing, disadvantaged, ``impoverished and the unborn.'' Boehner has sent a letter to Pope Francis on Thursday, the first anniversary of the Pope’s election.

The Vatican has no schedule of a papal visit to the US as yet. While Pope John Paul II visited Washington in 1979 and Pope Benedict XVI visited the U.S. capital in 2008, the U.S. Senate Historian's office said it has no record of a pontiff ever addressing Congress.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, who is also Catholic, welcomed Boehner's invitation to the pontiff. "Pope Francis 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," Pelosi said. US president Barack Obama is scheduled to meet Pope Francis in the Vatican on March 27 during a trip to Europe. (Source: AP/Reuters)


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