Pope Francis Won't Eat Lunch With U.S. Lawmakers — Instead, He'll Dine With Homeless

A symbolic moment with an important message.

Pope Francis has arrived in the United States, and he's already doing things his own way.

In his first speech on the White House lawn this morning, the Pope already touched on two of the issues Republican congressman have said they hope he doesn't talk about: immigration and global warming.

"As the son of an immigrant family, I am happy to be a guest in this country, which was built largely by such families," he said this morning. 

Then, just a few minutes later, he touched on global warming.

"Mr. President, I am finding it encouraging that you are proposing an initiative for reducing air pollution," The Pope said, adding that it "cannot be left to our future generation."

But it isn't just his words, it's his actions, too. For instance, after his planned address to Congress on Thursday, the pope will be eating with the homeless in Washington, D.C. rather than having lunch with lawmakers. 


The Pope has openly criticized the way capitalism can create unbridled income inequality, something that has ruffled the feathers of Americans across the country. For Americans, those criticisms are more accepted than the criticisms the pope has made about climate change deniers, a recent Bloomberg News survey showed. 

On the issue of homelessness, the Pope's attitude is clear: in May, he invited 150 homeless men and women to dine and pray with him inside the Sistine Chapel. The experience the poor are having in his name, however, is a bit more nuanced. As A Plus reported earlier this week, many homeless are being displaced by the heavy security measures being taken in the pope's name. 

In Philadelphia, where 48 percent of those seeking shelter were turned away last year, a video was recorded of police and city workers forcing a homeless man to throw out his belongings and move off of the street. It's just another complexity in the Pope's historic visit to the United States. 

Check out the Pope's arrival on Tuesday:

Cover image via Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.


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