Pope Takes on Controversial Issues in White House Speech

Pope Francis, Barack Obama, Michelle Obama
Pope Francis talks with President Barack Obama, accompanied by first lady Michelle Obama, after arriving at Andrews Air Force Base in Md., Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2015. The Pope is spending three days in Washington before heading to New York and Philadelphia. This is the Pope's first visit to the United States. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

During his busy, first full day during his trip to the U.S., Pope Francis wasted no time getting right to some highly controversial issues in his speech on the White House lawn.

He alluded to improving U.S. relations with Cuba, tolerance for same-sex couples and even pushed for the U.S. to act on global warming.

All of those issues have gotten him some criticism and some praise for seeming liberal, but Father Daniel Firmin of the Catholic Diocese of Savannah told News 3 that’s not really the case.

“None of what he’s said is changing any doctrine whatsoever, nothing that he has said,” said Firmin. “What he’s doing is entering into perhaps more of a dialog and saying ‘look, we’re willing to come to the table on this!’ I think that’s a wonderful thing because he’s emphasizing who we are not what people want us to be or not what people think we are but really who we are, what we teach and how we love.”

Pope Francis also said we are living at a critical moment in history and kept referring to the world as “our common home,” further pushing his idea that many big issues we may see as political are actually moral issues.

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