During his speech before the U.S. Congress in Washington, Pope Francis advocated for immigrants rights and the abolition of the death penalty, while calling for greater consciousness of human impact on the environment.
He said better use must be made of the earth’s resources, and damage caused by human activity to “our shared home” must be corrected, according to Prensa Latina.
Speaking as the child of immigrants, he said that we should never turn our backs on a neighbor and called for providing youth an education inspired by this principle.
Advocating for the worldwide elimination of the death penalty, which is used in the United States, he expressed the view that fair and necessary punishment should never exclude the possibility of hope or rehabilitation.
Thus Pope Francis became the first Pontiff to address the U.S. Congress, in what was surely one of the historic moments of his visit to the country.
Also present for the speech were Supreme Court Justices, Cabinet members and other invited guests.
The Pope was scheduled to depart for New York at 4:00pm local time, and participate in vespers at St. Patrick’s Cathedral at 6:45 pm.