Pope Francis has been formally invited to speak to Congress next year, reports the Washington Post, in a bipartisan pitch to share with US lawmakers his thoughts on globalization and social justice. If the visit takes place, Francis will be be the first pontiff ever to address American legislators from DC.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) made the formal invitation on behalf of House and Senate leaders, according to House and Senate aides. Boehner noted that Francis's ascension to the papacy and his social teachings over the past year 'have prompted careful reflection and vigorous dialogue among people of all ideologies and religious views in the United States and throughout a rapidly changing world, particularly among those who champion human dignity, freedom, and social justice.'
Boehner, who is Roman Catholic, was joined by fellow Catholic Nancy Pelosi in extending the invitation. As WaPo points out, both conservatives and liberals have claimed Francis as one of their own. Boehner couched his support for Francis' words in the context of decrying the federal government's undermining of personal charity, and in criticizing "crony capitalism." Pelosi, for her part, had this to say:
"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."
Via the Washington Post.