For six days in September, Pope Francis captivated America.
I saw it as President Obama and I welcomed him to the White House, overflowing with admirers. I saw it as he addressed Congress, and tens of thousands of well-wishers gathered on our National Mall. Thousands more saw it as he traveled to New York City and Philadelphia, and still more across the country felt his presence even hundreds of miles away.
He’s electrified the world because he embodies the basic tenets of Catholic social doctrine that also cut across all great faiths—everyone is entitled to be treated with dignity; we have an obligation to help the poor; we have responsibilities to one another and to our planet.
And he embodies our collective obligation to give meaning to these universal principles, that faith is a gift revealed not just in what we believe but also in what we do together. That’s especially the case in America, where the history of our journey is always in the direction of inclusiveness and acceptance, toward expanding rights and recognizing differences, and where everyone is welcome.
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