Pope Francis speaks out at White House in first official all English address (PHOTOS)
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Hundreds of people patiently awaited for Pope Francis' arrival, as President Obama and First Lady Michelle walked out of the White House on a red carpet.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Minutes later, the Holy Father arrived in his black Fiat 500. With smiles and applause, the Pope greeted the President and First Lady.
Following both the National Anthem of the Holy See and the National Anthem of the United States, Pope Francis would address the U.S. for the first time ever, in English.
"What a beautiful day the Lord has made," stated Obama. "Holy Father, on behalf of Michelle and myself, welcome to the White House."
"Today we mark many firsts, your holiness, you've been celebrated as the first pope from the Americas, this is your first visit to the United States and you're also the first pontiff to have shared an Encyclical through a twitter account," joked Obama.
"It reveals how much all Americans ... value the role the Catholic Church plays in strengthening America," Obama continued, explaining how important the Catholic religion is all over the world, as shown in the mass excitement over the Pope's visit.
"I believe the excitement surrounding your visit must be attributed, not only to your role as pope, but to your unique qualities as a person," continued Obama. "We see a living example of Jesus' teachings. A leader whose moral authority comes not just through words. You call on all of us, Catholic and non-Catholic alike.... you remind us that in the eyes of God our measure of individuals and our measure of society is not based on wealth ... to stand up for justice and against inequality... because we are all made in the image of God."
Obama thanked Pope Francis for his support on United States recovering relations with Cuba and the Cuban people, and for speaking out against war and climate change.
"You remind us people are only truly free when they can practice their faith truly. Here in the United States we cherish religious liberty," continued Obama. "We stand with you in defense of religious freedom."
Following Obama's speech, Pope Francis took the stage.
"Good morning. Mr. President, I am deeply grateful for your welcome in the name of all Americans," began Pope Francis in his first official address in all English. "As the son of an immigrant family, I am happy to be a guest to this country, which was ... built by such families."
"During my visit, I will have the honor of addressing congress, where I hope as a brother of this country to offer words of encouragement," stated Pope Francis, noting he will also be visiting Philadelphia for the Eighth World Meeting of Families to celebrate marriage and families.
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"All are called to be vigilant precisely as good citizens to preserve and defend freedom from everything that could be compromised," expressed Pope Francis.
Pope Francis thanked Obama for proposing an initiative for reducing air pollution. "Accepting the urgency, it seems clear to me, also, that climate change is no longer a problem that can be left to our future generation."
"When it comes to the care of our common home we are living at the critical moment of history. We still have time to make the change needed to bring about sustainability. For we know that things can change."
"We know by Faith that the Creator does not abandon us, He never forsakes His loving plan... Humanity has the ability to work together in building our common home."
Pope Francis ended his beautiful speech with a wonderful, "God Bless, America."
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