WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a historic speech to the U.S. Congress, Pope Francis fundamentally rearranged the political priorities for American Catholics in public life.
Abortion and same-sex marriage received scant mentions in the Pope’s short address. Instead Francis — the first pontiff to address Congress and the first from Latin America — focused on immigration, the death penalty, racial injustice, the weapons trade, and poverty.
It’s a speech that spotlighted the Pope’s political persona as the anti-Trump, the antithesis of the GOP front-runner — especially the billionaire’s insistence on amassing military might, deporting illegal immigrants and a building wall between the United States and Mexico.
Francis also called for a global abolition of the death penalty.
Here are nine quotes from the Pope’s speech to Congress that demonstrate how he is reshaping the Catholic Church’s political priorities.
1. “We know that in the attempt to be freed of the enemy without, we can be tempted to feed the enemy within. To imitate the hatred and violence of tyrants and murderers is the best way to take their place.”
2. “We, the people of this continent, are not fearful of foreigners, because most of us were once foreigners.”
3. “Tragically, the rights of those who were here long before us were not always respected … but it is difficult to judge the past by the criteria of the present.”
4. “We must resolve now to live as nobly and as justly as possible, as we educated new generations not to turn their back on our ‘neighbors’ and everything around us.”
5. “Our world is facing a refugee crisis of a magnitude not seen since the Second World War.”
6. “In a word, if we want security, let us give security; if we want life, let us give life; if we want opportunities, let us provide opportunities.”
7. “The Golden Rule also reminds us of our responsibility to protect and defend human life at every stage of its development. This conviction has led me, from the beginning of my ministry to advocate at different levels for the global abolition of the death penalty.”
8. “The right use of natural resources, the proper application of technology and the harnessing of the spirit of enterprise are essential elements of an economy which seeks to be modern, inclusive and sustainable.”
9. “Why are deadly weapons being sold to those who plan to inflict untold suffering on individuals and society? Sadly, the answer, as we all know, is simply for money: money that is drenched in blood, often innocent blood. In the face of this shameful and culpable silence, it is our duty to confront the problem and to stop the arms trade.”