House Speaker John Boehner has extended an open invitation to Pope Francis to address a joint meeting of Congress.
According to ABC News, the formal invitation was extended by the speaker, who is Catholic, in a letter to the Vatican on Thursday, which was the Pontiff’s first anniversary.
“Pope Francis has inspired millions of Americans with his pastoral manner and servant leadership, challenging all people to lead lives of mercy, forgiveness, solidarity, and humble service,” Boehner wrote. “His tireless call for the protection of the most vulnerable among us — the ailing, the disadvantaged, the unemployed, the impoverished, the unborn — has awakened hearts on every continent.”
CNN noted that Boehner also pointed out that the Argentinian is the first Pope “to hail from the Americas” and the invitation was on behalf of the bipartisan leadership of the House and the Senate.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, also a Catholic, echoed Boehner’s remarks and joined in extending the invite.
“Pope Francis has lived his values and upheld his promise to be a moral force, to protect the poor and the needy, to serve as a champion of the less fortunate, and to promote love and understanding among faiths and nations,” she said.
No word yet on whether or not the Holy Father will accept, but perhaps President Barack Obama will try to coax him when he visits the Vatican in two weeks.