House Speaker John Boehner marked Pope Francis’ first anniversary Thursday by extending an open invitation to him to address a joint meeting of Congress.
Boehner, who is Catholic, noted in a statement that the Argentinian was the first Pope "to hail from the Americas."
The Speaker said his teachings, "rooted in ‘the joy of the gospel,’ have prompted careful reflection and vigorous dialogue among people of all ideologies and religious views in the United States and throughout a rapidly changing world, particularly among those who champion human dignity, freedom, and social justice."
Boehner’s letter to Francis said the invitation was on behalf of the bipartisan leadership of the House and the Senate.
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
Everybody has an opinion about the pope these days and, what’s worse, feels compelled to express it. Rush Limbaugh has an opinion about the pope. He says he finds the pope “upsetting.” And he’s not even Catholic!
Even though it’s only April, the New York Times may already have run the most embarrassing correction that will appear in any major newspaper in 2013. In their story on Pope Francis’s first Easter message, no less than the Times’s Vatican reporter informed readers, “Easter is the celebration of the resurrection into heaven of Jesus, three days after he was crucified, the premise for the Christian belief in an everlasting life.”
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."