Pope Francis, the first Pope to ever address the United States Congress, made his message loud and clear this morning when he told the gathered lawmakers that they must welcome immigrants and reject all hostility towards them.
The Pontiff said the United States “must not repeat the sins and the errors of the past” when it comes to the issue of immigration:
“Building a nation calls us to recognize that we must constantly relate to others, rejecting a mindset of hostility.”
One wonders how Donald Trump, who has made the deportation of all Mexican immigrants and building a wall on the border with Mexico a centerpiece of his campaign, will react to the Pope’s message.
Pope Francis spoke to the Congress in English and also added that America should not be put off by the number of immigrants who are trying to make the United States their home:
“We must not be taken aback by their numbers, but rather view them as persons, seeing their faces and listening to their stories, trying to respond as best we can to their situation. To respond in a way which is always humane, just and fraternal.”
The Pontiff also talked about war and the need for nations to stop selling weapons to those who use them to harm others:
“Here we have to ask ourselves: 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.”
Interestingly, the Pope also made reference to civil rights, directly invoking the name of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.:
“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.”
U.S. Congressman John Lewis, who fought alongside Dr. King in the march for full rights for African-Americans, was visibly moved by the Pope’s comments.
Pope Francis will leave for New York once he has completed his stay in the nation’s capital.
This article was originally published by the same author at LiberalAmerica.org.