Pope Francis is set to visit the United States on the 24th of September to address a joint meeting on the House of Representatives and the Senate.
Francis, the most socially progressive pope is expected to gather large crowds in Washington DC for with tight security measures are being undertaken.
He is also expected to make a speech concerning immigration, something that is very worrisome to the Hispanic community, and Francis coming from a Latin country himself may prove to be the anti-Trump asset to the Republican Party.
The Republicans have always held the Pope dear to their hearts, but as Francis is a progressive Pontiff it might be very embarrassing to the GOP when he makes his speech on immigration and most probably address the statements by the frontrunner for the Republican Presidential nomination Donald Trump, that Hispanics are “criminals and rapists and bring disease to the country”, as well as his immigration policy of wanting to build a wall on the border between the U.S. and Mexico.
The Pope is currently in Cuba making an en route visit, because he was the mediator in the renewal of diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba, after half a century old animosity between the countries, something that the Republicans oppose wholeheartedly.
Francis has been deemed as progressive because unlike his predecessors John Paul II and Benedict XVI who propagated anti abortion and anti gay marriage campaigns, Francis has chosen to speak more about social and economic inequality, as well as climate change. He has made somewhat easier relief of the absolution of punishment on Catholic women for the “Sin of abortion” and has taken a more liberal stance regarding homosexuality.
Regarding the Republican call for building a wall to keep immigrants away from the United States, Francis has urged them to find forgiveness in God.
However, the Republican party hopes that the Pontiffs visit will ensure the Hispanic community that everyone who comes to the United States has more Republican values than Democratic, even though the Pope’s stances on curbing climate change and fighting inequality are closer to President Barack Obama’s policies.
According to Reuters, Bertica Carbera Morris, a Republican, said that “We need to educate the folks that come here who think they are Democrats, to understand they are more likely to be Republicans. I think the Democratic Party has done a better job than we have.” However, Charlie Kupchan, the senior director for European Affairs at the White House National Security Council said “This pope is a very understanding figure and we know from his previous travels that we don’t know what he’s going to say until he says it.” He also added “We are hoping that his moral authority helps us advance many items that we take to be high on our policy agenda.”
The Pope is expected to cause a kind of a rift between conservative Republicans and more moderate Republicans and will most certainly side with the policies of Republican Presidential candidate Jeb Bush, who has made a comprehensive immigration policy a part of his central policies.
Before the visit, the four leading Democrats and Republicans in Congress have issued a letter advising all Congressmen to refrain from long conversations and handshakes out of respect, something that Washington officials have made into ritual, disregarding the Pope’s schedule and expectation of timely address.