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Delaware's Congressional delegation looking forward to papal speech

Delaware Public Media

Delaware’s Congressional delegation will have the opportunity to hear directly from Pope Francis Thursday when the Pontiff speaks on Capitol Hill.

Pope Francis is scheduled to address a joint session of Congress around 10 am Thursday morning.  He’s the first pope to speak before Congress.

Delaware’s junior senator, Chris Coons (D-Delaware), says he’s looking forward to hearing what Pope Francis has to say, even if his message is one that challenges lawmakers.

“There’s an old saying in theology that the challenge of a Christian leader is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.  And I’m comfortable that this Pope will afflict all of us who are comfortable," Coons told Delaware Public Media recently. " I expect he will raise issues of life – including the death penalty and abortion pointedly.  And I expect he raise issue of climate change and economic justice pointedly.

Delaware’s senior senator, Tom Carper (D-Delaware), says, even though he is not Catholic, the message this pontiff’s message resonates with him

“One of the great lessons from this pope is that we have a moral responsibility to the least of these in our society – Matthew 25 – when I was hungry did you feed me, when I was naked did you clothe me, when I was sick or in prison did you come to visit me," said Carper. "And the federal government can’t pay for all those needs.  It can’t do it all.  It is a shared responsibility.  What he does is remind us that as human beings we have an obligation to the least of these in our society.  It’s a wonderful message."

Each member of Congress has one ticket to invite someone to see the Pope speak.  Coons invited his wife, Annie.  Sen. Tom Carper has asked Sister Rosa Alvarez, one of the founders of La Esperanza Community Center in Georgetown to join him.  Congressman John Carney (D-Delaware) – the only Catholic in the delegation – invited his brother Michael.

Carney is also holding an open house for Delawareans in Washington for the papal visit after the speech from 1 to 4 pm.  He expects about 100 constituents to join him.

Tom Byrne has been a fixture covering news in Delaware for three decades. He joined Delaware Public Media in 2010 as our first news director and has guided the news team ever since. When he's not covering the news, he can be found reading history or pursuing his love of all things athletic.
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