WASHINGTON, D.C. (WTXF) - The Pontiff's address to Congress -- the first ever by a sitting Pope -- was a highly choreographed event, that included a stop at Statuary Hall, to pay respects to Father Juniperro Serra -- just Sainted by Francis Wednesday.
The 18th century Spanish missionary spread Catholicism to California -- his statue has represented that state in the Hall for years.
Francis entered the house chamber to thunderous applause and immediately confirmed this would be a speech full of controversial subjects. He denounced religious zealotry, but also the demonizing of those with whom we disagree.
Francis repeated his belief that all life is sacred, his rejection of the death penalty, lamented income inequality and called for environmental stewardship.
He referenced the Syrian refugee crisis, and linked it to illegal immigration from Mexico.
And with final preparations for his visit to Philadelphia now underway, the pope told Congress he fears for the sanctity of the family -- a fundamental building block for this and every nation.