Pope Francis Delivers Remarks at White House
By: Chris johnson, Xiro Xone News September 23, 2015
In his first historic visit to the White House Pope Francis, issued a call to reject discrimination on Wednesday and declared that climate change is a problem "which can no longer be left to a future generation."
Speaking in English on the South Lawn, the pope said that American Catholics are committed to building a society "which is truly tolerant and inclusive," and he said that individual rights must be protected.
He called for rejecting "every form of unjust discrimination," and he said that a just country must respect religious liberty.
"That freedom remains one of America's most precious possessions," the pope said.
On the first full day of his six-day American tour, Francis spoke at length about the climate, praising President Barack Obama's efforts to combat air pollution. He stressed the need to protect what he called "our common home."
"We are living at a critical moment of history," he said. "We still have time to make the changes needed to bring about "a sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change."
The pope spoke after a formal welcome from the president, who praised his "profound moral example" of humility and mercy.
In his White House remarks, the pope gave an apparent nod to the warming of diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba, which he helped broker, and which he said opened doors of cooperation "within our human family."
Francis, the first Latin American pope, called himself the son of an immigrant family, and he said that he was proud to visit a country built largely by immigrants.
After his speech, Francis waved to the crowd from the Truman Balcony, the president to his left and the first lady to his right.
He was to meet with the president privately, part of a full day in Washington. His schedule included two parades, a midday prayer with Catholic bishops at St. Matthew's Cathedral and the controversial canonization of an 18th century missionary.
He will address Congress on Thursday and the United Nations on Friday.