Pope Francis arrived in Washington, D.C. yesterday for his first official visit to the United States.
This morning, he was welcomed at the White House, where he gave his first address to the nation on the South Lawn.
He didn’t hesitate to address some of the United States’ most divisive issues including Cuba and immigration. He also endorsed President Obama’s efforts to fight climate change, according to the New York Times.
Climate change is a subject close to the Pope’s heart and the subject of many addresses since June when he released an encyclical warning of the dangers of a warming planet.
Curbing climate change is a cause backed by Catholics and non-Catholics alike. On our site, 194,000 people signed Faiths for Earth’s petition urging action on global climate change, which falls in line with the encyclical. Faiths for Earth includes over a dozen leaders of the world’s largest religions, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the petition starter.
Similarly, excitement over the Pope’s visit extends beyond the 70 million-strong Catholic community in the United States. As a progressive Pope, who leads 1.2 billion Catholics worldwide, Francis inspires a great amount of hope in people of all faiths.
In his address this morning, Francis said he is will listen to “hopes and dreams of the American people,” and guide those who shape the country’s political future “in fidelity to its founding principles,” according to CNN.
Already, people are using petitions to tell the Pontiff what some of those hopes and dreams are and how he can help meet them. We’ve seen quite a few trending petitions directed at Pope Francis, from lighthearted asks for blessings to more serious concerns about how the Catholic Church handles LGBT issues and sex abuse.
6 Things Americans are Asking Pope Francis to Do on his First Visit to the United States
Sex abuse victim Kevin Braney is calling for Pope Francis to remove Bishop Robert Cunningham of Syracuse for refusing to reveal the identities of priests involved in historic sex abuse. Cunningham drew fire for calling victims “accomplices” in their molestation.
Petitioner Andrea Vettori is calling for Pope Francis to end the firing of LGBT church workers. Vettori is in a relationship with former Waldron Mercy Academy administrator Margie Winters, who was fired from her role after her partnership with Vettori emerged.
GLAAD is asking Pope Francis to meet with LGBT Catholics during his visit. “We want the Pope to lead by example and meet with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Catholics…we believe this meeting would promote great healing and reconciliation in our Church and society,” wrote petitioner Nicholas Coppola.
The Papal Pit Bulls of NYC are asking Pope Francis to bless the ACC East Harlem shelter, which cares for over 300 homeless and abandoned animals, and is just two blocks from one of the Pope’s scheduled visits in NYC.
Philadelphia Eagles fan, Pratik Patel, is requesting that the Pope bless the knees of the team’s quarterback when he makes his way through the City of Brotherly Love. “This town deserves a Super Bowl, and a healthy Bradford is the only way we will have a parade down Broad Street,” he wrote.
Petitioner Noah Rosenheck is urging the Pope to bless the Washington, D.C. Metro system. “At this point I’m willing to try anything” to make Metro work properly, he wrote.
Want the Pope to address something that matters to you?