Pope Francis Arrives At Joint Base Andrews

Pope Francis Arrives At Joint Base Andrews photo Pope Francis Arrives At Joint Base Andrews

Thousands of North Texans and local Catholic leaders are planning to be part of the historic visit of Pope Francis to the United States.

“What the pope does in the United States will be more important than what he says”, said Mat Schmalz, a religious studies professor at Holy Cross College in Worcester, Massachusetts. Benedict XVI, the former pope, used such a vehicle when he visited Washington in 2008, and Francis is expected to use one for at least a portion of his tour of city streets on Wednesday. He has no other public events scheduled for Tuesday.

It’s a sight you wouldn’t see in President Barack Obama’s motorcade.

“I would say in the range of 30-50,000 people”, he said.

But the first Latin American pope’s blessings on America could also contain uncomfortable challenges as he addresses a country that encapsulates numerous ills he has denounced as the head of one of the world’s largest religions.

He will wrap up his trip Saturday and Sunday in Philadelphia at an global festival of Catholic families.

On his arrival in Cuba, the pope described the success of the negotiations as an example of peacemaking for the entire world.

While he is certain of a warm welcome, Francis’ trip will include uncomfortable moments – as is typical of a pontiff who has disrupted the status quo and questioned the morality of modern society.

The measures are unprecedented for a papal trip and could make it almost impossible for many ordinary Americans to get anywhere close to Francis. Francis arrived in the sanctuary shortly after landing in the nearby eastern city of Santiago, his final stop in Cuba before heading to the US on Tuesday. Beside the re-establishment of diplomatic relations, the communist government is undertaking modest free-market reforms that have opened some sectors of the economy to private enterprise, creating socioeconomic inequality and growing cynicism, particularly among young people.

Francis’ past calls for migrants to be respected could draw him into the heated debate on illegal immigration that is roiling the 2016 presidential campaign.

Democrats could find themselves criticized for support of abortion and same-sex marriage, policies that conflict with the doctrine of the Catholic Church.

Pope Francis, right, and bishop Emilio Aranguren Echeverria, look out from the pilgrimage site Hill of the Cross, in Holguin, Cuba, Monday, September 21, 2015. He will encounter a nation where Catholic church attendance is on the decline, fallout over abuse scandals continues and longtime religious institutions erode amid an increasingly secular way of life.

During his Cuba visit, Francis discreetly refrained from chastising the communist regime for its crackdowns on dissidents and curbs on civil liberties.

As a result, Francis has been carefully balancing his desire to work with Castro’s government on its path of internal reform and detente with the United States with his longstanding critiques of communism as a system that stifles the spirit.

“He is my hero”.

“And if I have to recite the Credo, I will do it”, he added with a laugh, referring to the Christian statement of belief.

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