Pope Francis drew thunderous bipartisan applause this morning as he spoke to a deeply divided Congress about the need for unity to promote “the transcendent dignity of the human being.”
“Cooperation is a powerful resource in the battle to eliminate new global forms of slavery,” he told a joint session of the House and Senate.
Invoking the memory of Moses and Lincoln, the pope counseled America’s legislators to follow the Golden Rule: “Do onto others as you will have them do onto you.” Standing in the well of the House, beneath the words “In God We Trust” etched in marble, the pope noted that the United States has a special reputation as “the land of the free and the home of the brave.”
He said a “spirit of cooperation” among people of different faiths has accomplished much in U.S. history, and can again. He counseled lawmakers to end “unjust structures,” such as modern-day slavery. The pope said the goal of Congressional action should be “restoring hope, righting wrongs,” and “promoting well being” for all.
The pope noted that the promotion of freedom is deeply ingrained in America’s cultural heritage. “A nation can be considered great when it defends liberty, as Lincoln did,” the pope said. “God bless America,” he concluded.