Pope Francis is coming to Washington.
He will reportedly address a joint session of Congress in late September, according to his proposed schedule for the first visit to the United States of his papacy. His tentative itinerary reportedly includes visits to Washington, Philadelphia, and New York, said Archbishop Bernardito Auza, a member of organizing committee for the pope's upcoming U.S. visit, according to the Catholic News Agency.
"And we might say, really, the highlight of the Washington visit might be his speech to the joint,meeting of Congress, so the Senate and the House of Representatives," Auza said.
Pope Francis's politics have piqued the interest of many in D.C. At times he has drawn praise from liberals and criticism from conservatives for taking notable stances on issues ranging from homosexuality and clergy celibacy to divorce and income inequality. Polls have shown the pope has become increasingly popular among Catholics in America and around the world.
On behalf of congressional leadership in both parties and chambers, House Speaker John Boehner formally invited Pope Francis last March to address members of Congress.
"Pope Francis has inspired millions of Americans with his pastoral manner and servant leadership, challenging all people to lead lives of mercy, forgiveness, solidarity, and humble service," the speaker said in a statement in March. Americans, Boehner said, "have embraced Pope Francis's reminder that we cannot meet our responsibility to the poor with a welfare mentality based on business calculations. We can meet it only with personal charity on the one hand and sound, inclusive policies on the other."
A Boehner spokesman said nothing regarding the proposed visit has been made official. "We don't have any announcements as of yet," the spokesman said.
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