Pope Francis’ historic visit unites conflicting factions

The 266th Pope visited the United States last week and left an indelible impression


Courtesy of Catholic Church England and Wales

Pope Francis’ two-and-a-half years as leader of the Catholic Church has seen the Argentine espouse more progressive thinking in an attempt to open the Church to everyone.

Leon La Jeunesse, Reporter

It just would not be a good story about the Catholic Church if there was not some sort of controversy.

Of course, the big story of the last week was Pope Francis’ visit to the United States and he sure rustled some feathers.  His mere presence got both liberals and conservatives up in arms over many different issues.  For progressive-minded people, the Pope has represented a shift in traditional thinking with his stances on LGBT and contraceptive issues. Meanwhile, conservatives have pulled their hair out because this Pope has come out with statements on global warming issues, immigration policies, and acceptance of the gay community – all of which stand in antithesis to long-held Church views.  In a polarized nation where the two main political parties that dominate the government are on two completely different sides of the political spectrum and never seem to agree on anything, why have somebody come in and potentially drag both sides farther apart?  Somehow this does not seem to be the case, the Pope seems to have unified in his time in the U.S.

Last Thursday the Pope addressed the Congressional Congress of the United States.  It was an historic moment. Never before had a Pope spoken to Congress.  He brought up all the issues already stated and more as both Democrats and Republicans had their opportunities to stand and applaud and sit and sulk.  Walking away from it all, there was a strange feeling.  No matter where you land on the political spectrum there were moments where the Pope made you feel proud, then moments where the Pope took shots at your belief, but yet he remains in good graces in everyone’s eyes.  Instead of standing on the podium and aggressively attacking ideals, he pointed out flaws gracefully and eloquently held up others.

Aside from it all, the emphasis of the Pope’s speech was unity.

“We must move forward together, as one, in a renewed spirit of fraternity and solidarity, cooperating generously for the common good,”  he said.

Francis put things in perspective for once in Washington.  He showed how we are all imperfect and because of that the need to come together is more important than ever.  Whether you land on the liberal or conservative end, one thing everyone can agree is the stalemate on Capitol Hill has gone too far.  The Pope’s words of unity rang loud and true throughout that room. It remains to be seen what Congress will do about it.