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Death Penalty

The Pope brought up some controversial topics with US politicians today

He gave his views on the death penalty and immigration, amongst other issues.

Pope Francis AP Photo / Alessandra Tarantino AP Photo / Alessandra Tarantino / Alessandra Tarantino

POPE FRANCIS TOUCHED on a number of controversial topics in his address to US Congress this afternoon.

The Pope, who is currently on a historic visit to the United States, became the first pontiff to address the institution, and used the opportunity to touch on several big issues for Americans.

After his speech, due to last 30 minutes but went on for another 20, and at several points throughout, Pope Francis received long standing ovations.

Here’s some of the topics he touched on:

The institution of the family is ‘under threat’

How essential the family has been to the building of this country. And how worthy it remains of our support and encouragement.
Yet I cannot hide my concern for the family, which is threatened, perhaps as never before, from within and without.

Pope Francis, Joe Biden, John BoehnerSource: AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

Climate change

I am convinced that we can make a difference and I have no doubt that the United States – and this Congress – have an important role to play.
Now is the time for courageous actions and strategies, aimed at implementing a culture of care and an integrated approach to combating poverty, restoring dignity to the excluded, and at the same time protecting nature.

Abolition of the death penalty

The Golden Rule also reminds us of our responsibility to protect and defend human life at every stage of its development.This conviction has led me, from the beginning of my ministry, to advocate at different levels for the global abolition of the death penalty.
I am convinced that this way is the best, since every life is sacred.I also offer encouragement to all those who are convinced that a just and necessary punishment must never exclude the dimension of hope and the goal of rehabilitation.

Reuters / YouTube

The migrant crisis

Our world is facing a refugee crisis of a magnitude not seen since the Second World War.
We must not be taken aback by their numbers, but rather view them as persons, seeing their faces and listening to their stories, trying to respond as best we can to their situation.
On this continent, too, thousands of persons are led to travel north in search of a better life for themselves and for their loved ones, in search of greater opportunities," he added, referring to immigrants from Mexico and Central America.

Is this not what we want for our own children?

Vigilance against "all kinds" of fundamentalism

We know that no religion is immune from forms of individual delusion or ideological extremism. This means that we must be especially attentive to every type of fundamentalism, whether religious or of any other kind.
A delicate balance is required to combat violence perpetrated in the name of a religion, an ideology or an economic system, while also safeguarding religious freedom, intellectual freedom and individual freedoms.

The next stop on the pontiff's tour is New York, where he is due to address the UN General Assembly tomorrow morning and hold a multi-religious service at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum.

Another highlight from the past day of this tour was the reaction of Pope Francis to a young child who snuck past a security cordon.

Sophia Cruz (5) was waiting for the Popemobile to pass crowds at the National Mall when she managed to slip on to the road.

While security rushed to stop her, the Pope's car stopped, and a security guard lifted her over to hand-deliver a letter.

RT / YouTube

The young girl urged the Pope to give his blessing to immigration reform.

"I'm scared that the (immigration officials) will take my family away," she told The Associated Press.

I believe I have the right to live with my parents (...) I have the right to be happy. My dad works very hard in a factory galvanizing pieces of metal. All immigrants just like my dad feed this country. They deserve to live with dignity. They deserve to live with respect.

Additional reporting - © AFP, 2015

Read: When Francis met Barack: Here’s what the Pope spoke about during his White House visit >

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