Pope, in a First, Will Address U.S. Congress in September

Pope Francis

Pope Francis

The New York Times – By Nick Corasanti

Pope Francis will address a joint meeting of Congress on Sept. 24, becoming the first pontiff to do so.

Speaker John A. Boehner, a Catholic, announced on Thursday that the Holy See had accepted an invitation his office extended last March.

“In a time of global upheaval, the Holy Father’s message of compassion and human dignity has moved people of all faiths and backgrounds,” Mr. Boehner said in a statement. “His teachings, prayers, and very example bring us back to the blessings of simple things and our obligations to one another.”

Pope Francis played a key role in the United States’ recent normalizing of relations with Cuba.

The pope has also weighed in on environmental issues, calling climate change “mostly” a result of human activity and announcing that he will be drafting an encyclical on ecology and climate change to be released before the next round of United Nations climate talks in Paris.

An earlier version of this post misstated the nature of Pope Francis’s visit. It will be at a joint meeting of Congress, not during a joint session, which is held to conduct official business.

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