(CBS) – Pope Francis’ pro-immigration message Thursday before the U.S. House and Senate was well received by some members of the Illinois Congressional Delegation.
In an address repeatedly interrupted by applause — some of it partisan — he urged lawmakers and Americans in general to do the right thing, especially when it came to immigrants, CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine reports.
“We, the people of this continent, are not fearful of foreigners because most of us were once foreigners,” Pope Francis said.
It was exactly what Chicago Congressman Luis Gutierrez, a leader in the battle for immigration reform, wanted to hear.
“He simply stated the golden rule and gets a standing ovation — something we all know so well. It’s been such a long time since anyone said it with any authority,” he said.
And in talking about his concern for the family, Pope Francis could have been referring to Chicago when talked about the problems of young people.
“For many of them, a future filled with countless possibilities beckons, yet so many others seem disoriented and aimless, trapped in a hopeless maze of violence, abuse and despair,” he said.
Those words resonated with South Side priest Michael Pfleger, who was a guest of Congresswoman Robin Kelly.
“We can’t run away from it. We have to face it, and we have to deal with it,” Pfleger said.
The pontiff’s welcome was warm, with elected leaders well-behaved. None reached out to touch or be touched, which they’d been told not to do.
Pope Francis reached out to Secretary of State John Kerry, the only hand he shook on his way in or out of the chamber. His unprecedented speech before both houses of Congress won over some of America’s most hardened politicians.