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
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."
The mission of the modern university professor is not merely “forming competent and efficient professionals capable of satisfying the demand for labor,” Pope Benedict XVI said in a speech in Madrid on Friday. Instead, professors and students should be “looking for something more lofty and capable of embracing the full measure of what it is to be human.”