The pope will address Congress in September, a press release from the speaker of the House announced today.
“It is my great privilege to announce that His Holiness Pope Francis will visit the United States Capitol on Thursday, September 24, 2015. On that day, he will become the first leader of the Holy See to address a joint meeting of Congress. It will be a historic visit, and we are truly grateful that Pope Francis has accepted our invitation," Boehner says in a statement.
“In a time of global upheaval, the Holy Father’s message of compassion and human dignity has moved people of all faiths and backgrounds. His teachings, prayers, and very example bring us back to the blessings of simple things and our obligations to one another. We look forward to warmly welcoming Pope Francis to our Capitol and hearing his address on behalf of the American people.”
The White House has just released details of President Obama's upcoming Europe trip, which includes a visit with the pope in Vatican City on March 27. "The President looks forward to discussing with Pope Francis their shared commitment to fighting poverty and growing inequality," says the White House press secretary in a statement.
Here's the full statement:
Statement by the Press Secretary on the President's Travel to the Netherlands, Belgium, and Italy in March 2014
A commentator on CNN dubbed Pope Francis "the hope and change pope" earlier today:
"He hasn't actually done much in the way of real policy changes of initiatives, and he certainly is the hope and change pope, but he's at the head of a body, the Vatican, that's very resistant to change," said the CNN commentator. "I've read, for instance, that observers say that you don't change the Vatican, the Vatican changes you."
In an interview that aired this morning, President Obama was asked whether he'd have too much influence over an American pope. He didn't answer the question, but he did say he hopes the next pope carries the "central message of the Gospel":
Cardinals will not allowed to access their Twitter accounts during conclave, according to Catholic News Service. This restriction is applicable to the 9 cardinals who have Twitter accounts. In all, there are "117 red-vested princes of the church who are eligible to vote for a new pope."