Policy leaders say pope's visit could change discussion in Ameri - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Policy leaders say pope's visit could change discussion in American politics

The pope will celebrate a Mass outside the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, where he will elevate an 18th-century Franciscan friar to sainthood. The pope will celebrate a Mass outside the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, where he will elevate an 18th-century Franciscan friar to sainthood.
CARBONDALE, IL (KFVS) -

The pope has made his way to the nation’s capital, and thousands of people have gathered to see him.

Leaders at the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute say his visit goes way beyond religion.

“I think the pope’s visit is important politically,” Director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute, David Yepsen said. “He’s focusing on issues in his papacy dealing with poverty, dealing with the environment and I think these are issues that he forces to the forefront of the American political debate, so I think the pope’s visit’s important because it affects the agenda for what we talk about in politics.”

This is the first time a pope has engaged with American Congress.

Yepsen says the pope is a global leader with the attitude towards love and civility policy and says the way the pope addresses certain issues such as the environment, immigration and human equality, will allow our nation’s leaders to have a different attitude on how we address these topics.  

“This will prompt many Americans to start thinking about other things, more important things,” Yepsen said. “How are we treating one another, how are we treating the least among us, what’s the best way for gov’t to help people get healthcare, deal with poverty, income and equality."

Yepsen says immigration is a topic of discussion that not only affects the U.S. but has global implications as well.

Pope Francis has spoken about immigration during his first trip to the U.S, and institute leaders are watching his visit closely.

They say the conversation surrounding immigration could take on a lighter note when it comes from the pope.

“I think it’ll help us soften the discussion,” Yepsen said. “Some of the discussion surrounding immigration gets kind of racial and racists and harsh and mean. And the pope asks people in conducting this debate to conduct it with a little more love and civility and tolerant and so I expect that’ll be the impact of his talk about immigration in the U.S.”

For the first time ever, the pope will address Congress Thursday.

He’s also scheduled for stops in New York and Philadelphia during this trip.

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