What to Expect in Pope's Historic Address to Congress

How far will he go on hot-button issues such as abortion and climate change?
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 24, 2015 6:54 AM CDT
Updated Sep 24, 2015 7:00 AM CDT
What to Expect in Pope's Address to Congress
Pope Francis makes his way into the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC, yesterday.   (Mindy Schauer/The Orange County Register via AP)

Pope Francis offered up something for both the left (climate change) and the right (a call to protect the institution of marriage) in his White House remarks yesterday, reports CNN, so what's in store for his historic address to Congress today? Probably a little more of the same, within limits, reports the Hill. "He's a social conservative and an economic liberal, [so] both parties will have something that they'll like and something that will offend them," says a Cato Institute analyst. "[But] I'd be astonished if he was so undiplomatic to get into US policy in any kind of specific way." In particular, conservatives are hoping that Francis will reiterate the church's opposition to abortion, notes the Wall Street Journal. Democrats, meanwhile, want him to wade into issues such as income inequality and immigration, along with more on climate change, reports NBC News.

Other highlights of his address:

  • Security: It's on par with a presidential inauguration, reports USA Today.
  • Catholics: Joe Biden and John Boehner, both Catholics, will sit behind the pope, a reflection of how the "gates to political power have opened wide to Catholics" since the days of JFK, reports the Washington Post. In fact, about a third of Congress is Catholic.
  • Boycott: One congressman is sitting this one out on principle.
  • What's next: A visit to a Catholic Charities lunch for the poor. Here's the full schedule of the pope's US visit.
Meanwhile, a 5-year-old girl managed to slip through security to meet her hero. (More Pope Francis stories.)

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