Pope Francis is visiting the US for the first time this week. He’s speaking to congress in DC and the UN in New York. As the “popemobile” rolls through crowded streets, the media is buzzing about his political stances and what he might say while he’s here. The West’s most famous religious leader doesn’t fit squarely on the Left or the Right, as his opinions are alternatively liked and disliked by each side, depending on the topic. On the other hand, some argue that this popular pope is bridging divides between different religions and political groups.
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Snippets from the Right
“The Wall Street Journal reports the Vatican has objected to some of the guests the Obama administration has invited, including transgender activists, an openly gay Episcopal bishop, and a pro-abortion nun.
Francis Rooney, former ambassador to the Vatican in the George W. Bush administration, said the pope’s critical views on capitalism are shaped by his experience in Argentina and that he believes this trip to the U.S. can possibly changes those views.
‘It's something that we see he's [Obama’s] trying to push his own political agenda and the Vatican of course found this offensive. And really the pope doesn't want to be used as a political tool for the Obama administration,’ Arina Grossu, director of the Center for Human Dignity at Family Research Council, said.”
Snippets from the Left-Center
“In New York, where Francis will ride his popemobile through Central Park, a lottery for tickets to see him drew entries from Jews and Muslims as well as Catholics.
The breadth of his appeal can be traced, in part, to the role he has carved out as a champion of causes beyond the scope of church doctrine. A New York Times/CBS News poll conducted in early September found that 45 percent of respondents saw Francis more as a leader and humanitarian spokesman for all people, regardless of their religion, than as simply the leader of the Roman Catholic Church.
A Pew Research Center poll in February found that his approval rating among white mainline Protestants was 74 percent. Among those with no religious affiliation, it was 68 percent."
Snippets from the Center
“After the Rose Garden ceremony, Francis and President Barack Obama are expected to meet privately in the Oval Office.
There are many issues on which both men agree -- and they seem, personally, to get along well.
But there are also issues on which the Pope and President disagree, and it will be interesting to see the statements that emerge from the private meeting.
Watch, in particular, for references to religious freedom, a big area of contention between the U.S. Catholic bishops and the White House, who have battled over the contraception mandate in Obama's signature health care law.”

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