Pope Francis:To deliver first message to US on White House lawn

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Pope Francis:To deliver first message to US on White House lawn

Pope Francis will deliver his first message to the United States on the White House lawn Wednesday morning, in front of President Barack Obama and 15,000 others. This is in accordance of the report gotten from foxnews.

The welcoming ceremony is just the start of a full day of events for Francis, including a highly anticipated address to U.S. bishops at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle and the first ever canonization Mass held on American soil.

By 6 a.m. Wednesday, hundreds of people had lined up in pre-dawn darkness along the route that will take Francis from the White House to St. Matthew’s, best known as the site of John F. Kennedy’s funeral after his assassination in 1963.

Francis arrived in Washington, the first stop on his six-day, three-city tour of the U.S., late Tuesday afternoon. He was greeted at Andrews Air Force Base by Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, their wives, and Obama’s daughters before being driven to the diplomatic mission where he will spend his time in the nation’s capital.

Even before he arrived in America, Francis was fending off conservative criticism of his economic views. He told reporters on his flight from Cuba that some people may have an inaccurate impression that he is “a little bit more left-leaning.”

“I am certain that I have never said anything beyond what is in the social doctrine of the church,” he said.

As for conservatives who question whether he is truly Catholic, he added jokingly, “If I have to recite the Creed, I’m ready.”

Obama is anxious to add Francis’ undeniable star power to his own efforts on climate change and income inequality, among other things, by finding common cause with the pope. The two differ sharply on other issues, such as abortion and same-gender marriage.

From Francis’ vantage point, his next stop after the White House is perhaps more critical. The 78-year-old pontiff will meet with America’s 450-strong bishops’ conference at midday.

Many U.S. bishops have struggled to come to terms with Francis’ new direction for the church. Nearly all were appointed by Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI. They prioritized drawing clearer boundaries for Catholic behavior and belief in the face of legalized abortion, advances in gay rights and the exodus of so many Westerners from organized religion.

The American church spends hundreds of millions of dollars each year through its social service agencies, and for years has sought an overhaul of the immigration system to reunite families, shelter refugees and give the poor the chance at a better life. But the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has increasingly put its resources behind high-profile fights over abortion, contraception and gay marriage.

The first pope from the Americas also was acting Wednesday to canonize a Spanish friar who brought the Catholic faith to California.

Francis was to celebrate the Mass of canonization for Junipero Serra in Spanish. Several thousand of the 25,000 tickets to the event were set aside for Spanish-speaking people, many from California. The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception erected a temporary sanctuary on the east portico for the Mass.

On Thursday, Francis planned to deliver the first papal address ever to Congress, speaking to Republican-majority legislators deeply at odds with Obama on issues such as gay rights, immigration, abortion and climate change. Those same issues are roiling the early months of the presidential campaign.

For all the focus on Francis’ speeches, his less scripted moments in meeting with immigrants, prisoners and the homeless could prove more memorable.

He was expected to meet with poor immigrants and other clients of Catholic Charities in Washington and with prisoners in Pennsylvania. He also is known to veer off schedule for unscripted encounters.

 

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