Pope Francis to address US Congress
24 September 2015, 11:55
Washington - Fresh off his meeting with President Barack Obama, Pope Francis delivers a speech on Thursday to a US Congress led by Republicans who have opposed Obama on issues of importance to the pontiff, including climate change and immigration.
Francis, who arrived in Washington on Tuesday on a US trip that also will take him to New York and Philadelphia, is set to become the first pope to address a joint meeting of the Senate and House of Representatives later on Thursday.
The pope is expected to address climate change as well as the need to help migrants fleeing wars, international efforts to resolve conflicts, the US role in helping poorer nations, religious freedom and the "right to life" issues of abortion and euthanasia.
The pope met Obama privately at the White House on Tuesday, called the Democratic president's efforts against air pollution "encouraging" and said climate change is a problem the world can no longer leave to future generations to address.
In the first papal encyclical dedicated to the environment, Francis in June called for "decisive action" to stop environmental degradation and global warming, squarely backing scientists who say it is mostly man-made.
Global warming is blamed by almost all experts on man-made greenhouse gas emissions, although many US Republicans including some of those running for president in 2016 have heaped doubt on that view.