The Slatest

The Best Moment of the Pope’s Capitol Visit

Thursday at the U.S. Capitol.

Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty

There was a lot to chew over in Pope Francis’ address to Congress, during which he made respectful but firm points on contentious issues ranging from immigration to gay marriage. And while his speech was well-delivered given that he was speaking in what is at best his fourth language, the moment at which the unprecedently popular pope’s appeal came across most clearly didn’t actually happen until he left the House chamber. Stepping outside to address the crowd that had gathered on the Capitol lawn and the National Mall to watch a broadcast of his remarks, the pope gave a brief and affectionate blessing in Spanish:

His words:

Good morning, everybody.

I am grateful for your welcome and your presence.

I thank the most important people who are here: the children.

I want to ask god to bless you.

Lord, our father of all, bless these people. Bless each and every one of them. Bless their families. Give them what they need the most.

And I ask you all, please, to pray for me. And if amongst you there are some who don’t believe, or can’t pray, I ask you please, to wish good things for me.

Slate’s Juliana Jiménez Jaramillo provided the translation, and notes that in context Francis’ thanks to los personajes más importantes que hay aquí…los niños (the most important people here … the children) seems to be kind of a bait-and-switch playing on the idea of acknowledging VIPs. That moment:

He closed in English: “Thank you, thank you very much, and God bless America.”