NEW YORK — In a historic speech delivered at the opening of the 70th Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations Friday, Pope Francis called for a defense of the environment and a recognition and adherence to "moral law" in society while knocking abortion, war, Christian persecution and "anomalous" lifestyles.
"Man is not only a freedom which he creates for himself. Man does not create himself. He is spirit and will, but also nature. Creation is compromised where we ourselves have the final word. The misuse of creation begins when we no longer recognize any instance above ourselves. When we see nothing else but ourselves," said Francis who is the first Pope to address the opening session of the General Assembly.
"Consequently, the defense of the environment and the fight against exclusion demand that we recognize a moral law written into human nature itself. One which includes the natural difference between man and woman and the absolute respect for life in all its stages and dimensions," he said to applause. more >>
WASHINGTON — In the first ever papal address issued to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Thursday, Pope Francis urged Americans to share their wealth, stand up against religious and minority persecution, defend life at every stage of development, welcome immigrants seeking better lives, abolish the death penalty and protect the planet.
After meeting with Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, in his office around 9:15 a.m., the leader of the Catholic Church addressed members of the House and Senate with a 50-minute speech that was broadcasted and shown to approximately 50,000 adoring fans who gathered on the front lawn of the Capitol building to hear his historic remarks.
"Each son or daughter of a given country has a mission, a personal and social responsibility," Pope Francis, who hails from Argentina, asserted. "A political society endures when it seeks, as a vocation, to satisfy common needs by stimulating the growth of all its members, especially those in situations of greater vulnerability or risk. Legislative activity is always based on care for the people. To this you have been invited, called and convened by those who elected you." more >>
The following is a transcript of Pope Francis' Thursday speech to Congress.
Mr. Speaker, more >>
An American couple from Arizona has claimed that Pope Francis healed their 3-month-old daughter's heart condition after the pontiff held and blessed her during Easter 2014 proceedings at the Vatican.
"It seems like it was really meant to happen," said Lynn Cassidy, according to news station KPNX. "And it's as close to a miracle as we'll ever see, I'm sure."
In 2014, the Cassidy family had traveled to Rome in hopes of seeing Francis in person during the canonization of John Paul II and John XXIII. They said they had waited for hours in the rain at the barricade at St. Peter's square, when Scott Cassidy held their daughter, Ave, up in the air when Francis passed by in his Popemobile. more >>
This week, the U.S. Senate is considering bills to ban abortions after 20 weeks; to defund Planned Parenthood; and to hold abortion providers criminally liable for failing to provide medical care to babies born alive. Despite this, Pope Francis reportedly will focus his comments during his U.S. visit on climate change, not life issues. Oklahoma Senator James Lankford finds this sad and puzzling.
Lankford, a cosponsor of the bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, spoke with me Monday about the pope's visit. He also addressed the pending pro-life legislation and the battle over defunding Planned Parenthood, which could lead to a government shutdown.
When Pope Francis arrives in the U.S. this week, there are many who hope he will again speak the word that global leaders have been reluctant to speak: Genocide.
In remarks made last June while in Bolivia, the Holy Father proclaimed, "Today we are dismayed to see how the Middle East and elsewhere in the world many of our brothers and sisters are persecuted, tortured and killed for their faith in Jesus … a form of genocide is taking place, and it must end."
It is hard to ignore the horrifying images of the humanitarian crisis gripping northern Iraq and Syria in recent years: families struggling atop Mount Sinjar in a desperate attempt to flee ISIS death squads … ethnic minorities gunned down en mass for refusing to abandon their faith … the wholesale destruction of historical monuments and holy places. more >>