[By Christopher White from Catholic Voices USA] Pope Francis officially began his visit to the United States with a ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House. President Obama commented that the gathering was a reflection of the deep faith of the 70 million Catholics in the United States. Pope Francis began his remarks that he, too, is an immigrant and happy to be in the United States, a nation of immigrants. His remarks focused on the importance of religious freedom, respect for immigrants, and a commitment to the environment—ideals that he noted are consistent with America’s founding principles.
“I hope, as a brother of this country, to offer words of encouragement to those called to guide the nation’s political future in fidelity to its founding principles.”
“As the son of an immigrant family, I am happy to be a guest in this country, which was largely built by such families.”
On Religious Freedom:
“All are called to be vigilant, precisely as good citizens, to preserve and defend that freedom from everything that would threaten or compromise it.”
On the environment:
“As Christians inspired by this certainty, we wish to commit ourselves to the conscious and responsible care of our common home.”
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