Hoosiers react to Pope’s speech to Congress

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Sept. 24, 2015) -- The eyes of the world were on Congress today as Pope Francis addressed to the nation’s lawmakers. Many Hoosiers also tuned in to watch the speech.

The Pope spoke about a lot of issues that usually divide the country, but his message focused on unity and cooperation.

Gay marriage, illegal immigration and climate change are topics that normally spark political fights between left and right, but while addressing a joint meeting of Congress, Pope Francis had a clear message.

“I thought his message was unifying,” said Josiah Johnson.

Johnson is a sophomore at Marian University. He watched the Pope’s speech and praised the Pope’s call for open dialogue on controversial issues.

“When those issues come up people tend to turn a blind eye and that’s not the way things are going to be solved,” said Johnson.

“He sees himself as a bridge builder and wants to be a person who can initiate conversations between different groups of people,” said Greg Otolski with the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.

Otolski also applauded the speech.

“You know, I think he’s saying we need to get beyond politics. There are lots of things that unite us,” said Otolski.

On immigration, Francis encouraged members of Congress not to fear but to welcome those looking to start a new life in this country.

“There is just from a religious aspect an idea of unification and peace and that was his goal in addressing Congress,” said Johnson.

“Even if we disagree on issues and where policy should go, he’s encouraging people to keep talking to one another,” said Otolski.