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Paul Ryan Reflects on Pope Francis’s Address to Congress

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September 23, 2015 | Ian Martorana (202-225-3031) | comments

WASHINGTON, DC — Earlier today, Wisconsin’s First District Congressman and House Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan spoke to Raymond Arroyo, host of EWTN’s The World Over, about the importance of Pope Francis’s address and what the key takeaways should be for the American people. Excerpts of Ryan’s interview follow:

Experiencing Pope Francis’s address to a joint meeting of Congress:
“It was wonderful. As a Catholic, I can’t tell you how exciting it was just to be in the room, just to watch the Pope walk down the aisle, and give what I thought was a great pastoral speech. This wasn’t a policy speech; this was a speech from a pastor, from the voice of Saint Peter, the vicar of Christ. He’s been calling for a dialogue and talking about very important principles about the dignity of every human person and how we need to attend to this. And so, just as an American, as a Congressman, and as a Catholic, I thought it was just a great experience.”

Applauding the Holy Father’s call for dialogue:
“When [Pope Francis] talked about the spirit of enterprise, he talked about America’s founding principles, which are founded on natural rights and natural law. He spoke about how beautiful they are and what they’ve done for people, and that’s fantastic. . . . This is a speech that rises to a higher calling to have the kind of dialogue we really ought to have to try and improve the lives of everybody. He’s a special Pope. There is something in this Pope for everyone. He’s a unifying figure, and I think that’s very good.”

Listening to Pope Francis’s remarks, rather than politicizing them:
“I think it’s important to listen to the message, to actually read his comments. Listen to his words, and no side should try to politicize this. If a person tries to politicize this speech for some issue or partisan gain, that diminishes from the message itself.”

Unifying Americans and beginning dialogues:
“He’s a special Pope. There is something in this Pope for everyone. He’s a unifying figure, and I think that’s very good. And so, I think his goal is to start a dialogue. If you read his encyclicals, they are about starting dialogues—not settling debates, but starting dialogues. And I think his presence here, not just today but in Philadelphia and New York, will amplify that, and nothing but good can come from that as far as I am concerned.”

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