January 2, 2016

Twelve Things Pope Francis Said to Congress Worth Remembering in 2016

Pope Francis addressing Congress

During his apostolic visit to the United States this past September, His Holiness Pope Francis addressed a joint session of Congress. The Holy Father paid homage to America's tradition of democratic rule and commitment to liberty, human dignity and religious expression. He also singled out four citizens who personified these values in their lives': Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton.

As we begin the year 2016, the following ten statements from Francis' remarks are worth bearing in mind. Let us not forget that while it is the nature of morals to decline, and cultural sensibilities are fickle, the truth as taught by Christ, and espoused by His Church, is immutable.
Each son or daughter of a given country has a mission, a personal and social responsibility.
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A delicate balance is required to combat violence perpetrated in the name of a religion, an ideology or an economic system, while also safeguarding religious freedom, intellectual freedom and individual freedoms.
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To imitate the hatred and violence of tyrants and murderers is the best way to take their place.
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Our efforts must aim at restoring hope, righting wrongs, maintaining commitments, and thus promoting the well-being of individuals and of peoples.
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Politics is, instead, an expression of our compelling need to live as one, in order to build as one the greatest common good: that of a community which sacrifices particular interests in order to share, in justice and peace, its goods, its interests, its social life.
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I am happy that America continues to be, for many, a land of “dreams”. Dreams which lead to action, to participation, to commitment. Dreams which awaken what is deepest and truest in the life of a people.
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... it is difficult to judge the past by the criteria of the present.
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Building a nation calls us to recognize that we must constantly relate to others, rejecting a mindset of hostility in order to adopt one of reciprocal subsidiarity, in a constant effort to do our best.
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Let us treat others with the same passion and compassion with which we want to be treated.
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The Golden Rule also reminds us of our responsibility to protect and defend human life at every stage of its development.
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... every life is sacred, every human person is endowed with an inalienable dignity 
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How essential the family has been to the building of this country! And how worthy it remains of our support and encouragement! Yet I cannot hide my concern for the family, which is threatened, perhaps as never before, from within and without. Fundamental relationships are being called into question, as is the very basis of marriage and the family. I can only reiterate the importance and, above all, the richness and the beauty of family life.

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