Francis had a very busy schedule Wednesday
The Pope attended a White House ceremony followed by a parade
Pope Francis immediately dove into the whirlpool of U.S. politics on Wednesday, using his first direct address to the nation to weigh in on deeply divisive issues including climate change, Cuba, and traditional marriage as he was greeted by exuberant crowds packing the streets of Washington.
The pontiff lived up to his reputation for blunt talk at a welcoming ceremony at the White House, introducing himself as the son of the kind of “immigrant family” on which America was built – a clear reference to the controversy swirling around millions of undocumented people in the country.
Speaking in English, the Argentine-born Francis also said he was ready to listen to the “hopes and dreams of the American people” and to offer guidance to those charged with shaping the nation’s political future “in fidelity to its founding principles.”
And in comments that could antagonize Republicans, Francis endorsed President Barack Obama’s efforts on climate change and rebuilding ties with Cuba after more than half a century of estrangement.
Wednesday, which began with pomp and politics and ended with a controversial canonization, was the Pope’s first full day in the United States. The 6-day visit will take him later this week to New York, where he will address the United Nations, and Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families, a large Catholic event that is expected to draw nearly a million pilgrims to papal Masses.