WASHINGTON, DC - In a trip full of firsts, Pope Francis crossed another one off of his list Thursday: addressing a joint meeting of Congress. The pontiff didn't hold back in his speech, first reminding Congress of its responsibility to the country.
"Your own responsibility as members of Congress is to enable this country, by your legislative activity, to grow as a nation," the pope said. "You are the face of its people, their representatives."
He also tackled some pretty divisive issues. On climate change, he called for efforts "to avert the most serious effects of the environmental deterioration caused by human activity."
On the death penalty: "Recently my brother bishops here in the United States renewed their call for the abolition of the death penalty. Not only do I support them, but I also offer encouragement to all those who are convinced that a just and necessary punishment must never exclude the dimension of hope and the goal of rehabilitation."
The pope also focused on immigration, calling the refugee crisis in Europe the worst since the Second World War.
"We must not be taken aback by their numbers, but rather view them as persons, seeing their faces and listening to their stories, trying to respond as best we can to their situation," he said.