International Relations Politics

Read: Pope Francis’ Historic Speech at the Joint Session of the US Congress

It was a glorious day at the Capitol Hill. For the first time in history, the Joint Session of the Congress of the United States of America hosted a pope of the Holy See to deliver a speech to these lawmakers. Even if popes such as Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI had visited the United States in the past, none had ever gotten a great opportunity such as Pope Francis.

And yes, Pope Francis did not disappoint. His words were subtle, sometimes complex, with multiple meanings and possible for differences in interpretation. But clearly, His Holiness maintained his sharp thoughts throughout the speech. From immigration to climate change, marriage to death penalty. Pope Francis also used four famous Americans as almost a case study for his speech. Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King were almost giveaways, but then, the pope added Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton, to the bemusement of many of us who were not quite acquainted with the two individuals.

Trying to be non-partisan, yet divisive at times, this speech is one very important assembly of words to be remembered for many years to come. I am putting the transcript of the speech below, for your personal enjoyment.


Review: George Weigel’s Witness to Hope

How do you write an authoritative biography of one of the most towering figures of the twentieth century? A herculean task, no less. One journalist, though, by the name of George Weigel, decided to take the challenge. Leader of more than 1.2 billion people worldwide, one of the longest leaders of the Roman Catholic Church, and one of the driving forces that topple communism, Pope John Paul II (1920-2005) is a human being to large for a book.

A reader of the Vatican, religious history, or anyone generally interested in biographies must never skip this gigantic book, doing its best to paint a human being in its humblest and grandiose senses. No popes before or after can match Pope John Paul II’s appeal, and most likely none will ever will again. Witness to Hope, first of a two-part series on Pope John Paul II, will navigate you through the earliest days of his life, his priesthood, his stand in the “Year of three Popes” (1978, when a succession of Pope Paul VI, John Paul I, and John Paul II were elected), and his papacy all the way to the year 2000.