Here’s a live stream of Pope Francis’ address to a joint session of Congress. We’ll post updates on his appearance and the reaction to it below. For some background on the pope’s political viewpoints and other information about his visit to the United States, click here.
11:10 a.m.: Appearing to wild applause on the Capitol balcony, the pope addressed the crowd outside and gave a brief blessing (in Spanish, with a translator) which he ended (in English) by saying “God bless America.”
10:59 a.m.: The pope has wrapped up. “In these remarks I have sought to present some of the richness of your cultural heritage, of the spirit of the American people,” he said. “It is my desire that this spirit continue to develop and grow, so that as many young people as possible can inherit and dwell in a land which has inspired so many people to dream. God bless America!” Here’s a full transcript of his remarks.
10:51 a.m.: Oblique reference to gay marriage.”I cannot hide my concern for the family, which is threatened, perhaps as never before, from within and without. Fundamental relationships are being called into question, as is the very basis of marriage and the family. I can only reiterate the importance and, above all, the richness and the beauty of family life.” Everyone ended up standing and applauding, though the Republicans started it. The audience is basically just confused about how to respond in partisan fashion to this speech.
10:38 a.m.: Shout out to capitalism! “It goes without saying that part of this great effort [to fight poverty] is the creation and distribution of wealth. The right use of natural resources, the proper application of technology and the harnessing of the spirit of enterprise are essential elements of an economy which seeks to be modern, inclusive and sustainable.”
10:34 a.m.: A fairly clear reference to abortion—“The Golden Rule also reminds us of our responsibility to protect and defend human life at every stage of its development”—also just got a bipartisan standing ovation. Many Democrats clapped when Francis subsequently advocated the “global abolition of the death penalty,” but it looked like Republicans generally stayed quiet.
10:29 a.m.: Timely tweet from Arnold Schwarzenegger about Oktoberfest and schnitzel.
10:26 a.m.: Bipartisan standing ovation for this line: “In recent centuries, millions of people came to this land to pursue their dream of building a future in freedom. We, the people of this continent, are not fearful of foreigners, because most of us were once foreigners.”
10:17 a.m.: It sounded a little like the pope just cited “Doris Day” along with Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King as great Americans. But he actually said Dorothy Day.
10:08 a.m.: The pope is here! He’s talking! Everyone clapped when he referred to “the land of the free and the home of the brave.”
10:05 a.m.: Supreme Court justices John Roberts, Anthony Kennedy, Sonia Sotomayor, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg are in attendance. Roberts, Kennedy, and Sotomayor are Catholic. Catholic justices Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito, and Clarence Thomas are not present. (Another Catholic public figure who at least claimed he wouldn’t be there is Arizona Republican Paul Gosar, who said he’s skipping the event because he’s upset that the pope might talk about climate change.)
9:45 a.m.: Pope Francis has arrived at the U.S. Capitol and was formally greeted by House speaker John Boehner. The Ohio Republican, a Catholic himself, is the one who invited the pope to give today’s speech, the first-ever papal address to Congress.
Boehner seemed to have a lot of nervous energy while awaiting the pontiff: