Pope Francis appealed to US lawmakers Thursday to help the poor, do more for suffering migrants around the world and fight climate change, pressing some of his trademark battles in a historic speech to Congress.
A day after meeting with President Barack Obama and enjoying a rapturous welcome from thousands of people on the streets of Washington, Francis became the first pontiff to address a joint session of the Senate and the House of Representatives.
Three crisp raps of the gavel from the podium announced the arrival of Pope Francis, who wore flowing white vestments as he strode down to the front of the chamber to applause and a standing ovation.
He triggered another round of clapping from the hundreds of lawmakers, Supreme Court justices, cabinet ministers and Vice President Joe Biden by saying it was an honor to be in “the land of the free and the home of the brave.”
Francis spoke heavily accented English in a wide-ranging speech interrupted often by applause from his American hosts as he touched on social, financial and humanitarian issues.
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