Pope Mentions Working Families, Strong Women in His Speech to Congress

By Devin Tomb

As part of Pope Francis' historic visit to the U.S., this morning he became the first Pope to address Congress. Important for that reason, and also because Congress hasn't exactly been getting along lately. (For starters, we're looking at a government shutdown over the funding of Planned Parenthood, which provides health services like cancer screenings to millions of women across the U.S.) He addressed the room in English, which he has expressed discomfort doing in the past, but his message was clear. Here, five of the most memorable touchstones:

1. Working families
"I would like to take this opportunity to dialogue with the many thousands of men and women who strive each day to do an honest day’s work, to bring home the daily bread, to save money and one step at a time, to build a better life for their families. These men and women who are not concerned simply with paying their taxes but in their own quiet way, sustain the life of society."

2. Strong women
"In these times when social concerns are so important, I cannot fail to mention the Servant of God Dorothy Day, who founded the Catholic Worker Movement. Her social activism, her passion for justice and for the cause of the oppressed, were inspired by the Gospel, her faith, and the example of the saints.”

3. Kindness
"Let us remember the Golden Rule: 'Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.'"

4. Opportunity
"If we want security, let us give security; if we want life; let us give life; if we want opportunities, let us provide opportunities."

5. Achieving one's dreams
"Here too I think of the march which Martin Luther King led from Selma to Montgomery fifty years ago as part of the campaign to fulfill his 'dream' of full civil and political rights for African-Americans. That dream continues to inspire us all. I am happy that America continues to be, for many, a land of ‘dreams.’ Dreams which lead to action, to participation, to commitment. Dreams which awaken what is deepest and truest in the life of a people."

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