Francis on immigration, the death penalty, poverty in speech to Congress
Washington — In a historic speech to Congress, Pope Francis fundamentally shifted the political priorities of Catholics in the United States.
Hot topics such as abortion and same-sex marriage received scant mentions in the pontiff’s short address. Instead Francis–the first pope to address Congress and the first from South America–focused on immigration, the death penalty, the weapons trade, racial injustice, and poverty.
It’s a peculiar speech that represents the antithesis to Donald Trump’s insistence on amassing a larger military, constructing a huge fence along the U.S. border with Mexico, and the deportation of millions of illegal aliens.
Francis also called for a worldwide ban on the death penalty.
Here are 9 of the pontiff’s most memorable quotes from this historic event.
- “We know that in the attempt to be freed of the enemy without, we can be tempted to feed the enemy within. To imitate the hatred and violence of tyrants and murderers is the best way to take their place.”
- “We, the people of this continent, are not fearful of foreigners, because most of us were once foreigners.”
- “Tragically, the rights of those who were here long before us were not always respected … but it is difficult to judge the past by the criteria of the present.”
- “We must resolve now to live as nobly and as justly as possible, as we educated new generations not to turn their back on our ‘neighbors’ and everything around us.”
- “Our world is facing a refugee crisis of a magnitude not seen since the Second World War.”
- “In a word, if we want security, let us give security; if we want life, let us give life; if we want opportunities, let us provide opportunities.”
- “The Golden Rule also reminds us of our responsibility to protect and defend human life at every stage of its development. This conviction has led me, from the beginning of my ministry to advocate at different levels for the global abolition of the death penalty.”
- “The right use of natural resources, the proper application of technology and the harnessing of the spirit of enterprise are essential elements of an economy which seeks to be modern, inclusive and sustainable.”
- “Why are deadly weapons being sold to those who plan to inflict untold suffering on individuals and society? Sadly, the answer, as we all know, is simply for money: money that is drenched in blood, often innocent blood. In the face of this shameful and culpable silence, it is our duty to confront the problem and to stop the arms trade.”
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