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tv   News  Al Jazeera  September 24, 2015 9:00am-9:31am EDT

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there has been away security sweep. that is what the bomb sniffing dogs and security went through. they are being searched. they are not allowed to bring backpacks, umbrellas, anything. it is a very sunny day in the nation's capitol. it's not a day where they have to battle the elements. this event is special because it is the pope and it is as you saw a moment ago when you were talking about him coming out, this is a guy that likes to be with the people. he does not like to be insulated from the people that he is supposed to serve. as a result, that creates a special security challenge. there have been 41 major events in terms of the secret service since the secret service has been keeping record of these events. four of them will be taking place this week alone. there was yesterday's arrival where he was at the white house. there would be the address before congress, before the united nation and another at madison square gardens. the secret service, coordinating
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all of those has had its hands full. i think if anything could be said about the secret service, it's that they won't be able to wait for this pope to leave. stephanie. >> del walters, stand by. i want to bring in libby casey who i believe is in the capitol rotunda. libby, describe what is happening around you and the anticipation. i just saw senator patrick leahy come out to just wave and look in awe at this massive crowd we are looking at live here. >> i think this is awe on a lot of levels as members of congress watch the crowds outside. they also prepare to hear the pope speak, it means different things to different members certainly. there are a lot of catholics in congress and we do expect to see the vice president here, secretary of state john kerry here, both catholics, as well as four members of the supreme court, three of whom are catholic and plan to attend today. there is a lot of interest in what exactly the pope will say,
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how he will delivery his message. the invitation has come by house speaker john boehner and he will have the privilege of having a moment together with the pope before the pope addresses congress. i say privilege, because that's how the speaker views it. as a devout catholic, he is very excite been. even though he's so excited that, some of the positions, the more progressive messages the pope has had during his two years in the papacy are putting the republicans in a little bit of an awkward position. >> pope francis called capitalist excesses the dung of the devil. >> human beings and nature must not be at the service of money. let us say no to an economy of exclusion and inequality where money rules rather than service. >> in june, the pope called for global action to fight climate change. there was a furious response. russia limbaugh said he sounds like a marxist.
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former gop presidential candidate pat buchanan called the pope a socialist squandering his moral authority. >> there are issues that guest attention because they are flash points of disagreement between the vatican and conservatives and especially the republican majority in congress. >> like the pope's support of the iran nuclear deal and his crucial role mediating the relationship between the u.s. and cuba, very different positions than that of the man who invited pope francis to address congress, house speaker john boehner, himself a devout catholic. >> one thing we know about this pope. he's not afraid to take on the status quo or not afraid to say what he really thinks. i can tell you this, i'm not about to get myself into an argument with the pope. >> speaker boehner will have a rare private audience with the pope, but don't expect political fireworks. >> i expect what the speaker is hoping to do is just ensure that
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the pope is able to have a positive reception from congress. >> six republican presidential candidates are catholic, all sorting out how to react to the pope's messages on the campaign trail, like jeb bush back in june. >> i don't got posed from my cardinals or bishop or pope. >> it's not just republicans who disagree with the vatican. catholic democrats like house leader nancy pelosi of long held opinions that diverge on abortion, gay marriage and birth control. >> boston college professor says the pope's message will transcend politics but not ignore it. >> this man as a spiritual leader will be addressing issues that are deeply political and social, and real relevance to our societies and cultures. >> many in congress say the pope's address is historic, an opportunity to listen and put politics aside for a morning. >> you can expect the pope to touch on some hot button issues
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this morning as he addresses congress. everything from climate change to income in equality and immigration. he is the child of immigrants and has been watching closely latin american and u.s. politics. >> libby casey, thank you. to get a little more into the politics of this, i want to bring in david shuster. david, a lot of people have said this was a pastoral visit, that the pope's message would be more spiritual. for all of us that heard his speech on the white house lawn yesterday, there is no question that it was embueded with politics. >> and certainly this morning it will, as well. this is a political body he is going to speak to that. it's not a church or mass. you see sometimes the political personality come through at events like this. as we see live pictures in the
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front of the capitol, there was senator patrick leahy, a catholic known in congress for making small talk about his side hobby, photography. there he was leaning taking pictures of 40,000 people lined up on the we have had side. even at this moment when members of congress have been told look, decorum, there's patrick lay high leaning out, trying to take pictures. >> at least he doesn't have a selfie stick with him. >> you mentioned dough core rum and the efforts to not try to get members of congress involved in politics. there was a discussion with the washington representative who's long asked for d.c. statehood discussion to try to get the official license plate in washington, d.c. for the pope's fiat to look like the d.c. license plate that says no taxation without representation.
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that's the call for d.c. statehood. that was rejected when her office talked about that with others. everybody said no, if we're going to put a license plate on, it's going to be apolitical and will say u.s.1 or what the pope uses at the vatican, which is vatican city one. it's almost irresistible in washington not to make some political hay out of an event like this. >> especially the year before an election. i want to bring in patrick hornbeck talking about the license plate on the fiat. hasn't the pope actually made a point with his license plate in the car that he drives in the vatican. >> absolutely. he doesn't use any particular special license plate at the vatican, here in the u.s., easy using s.u.v. one.
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my guess is he is not excited about that. i imagine his focus is somewhere else. >> what does that mean? >> vatican one. remember just however catholics have come in this country in the political sphere. in 1960, john f. kennedy had to go to houston and address protestant ministers to say if he became the first catholic president, he wouldn't take his orders from rome. today we have a catholic vice president, a catholic speaker of the house, six of the nine supreme court justice. >> i imagine they would say they still don't take orders from rome. >> absolutely. the fact that we're going to have speaker babier and vice president biden sitting immediately behind the pope as he speaks represents that. both of these are devout catholic man with different political convictions. both would tell you that their convictions are in line with
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their click faith. >> what is it like for the pontiff to visit the united states where it is enshrined in the constitution, the separation of church and state? of course the pope is also the head of a sovereign state, a little tiny one. >> that's right. >> in the property of the vatican. how does he cater his message to that fact. >> the u.s. is really interesting when it comes to region. in the constitution, the bill of rights is preserve the rights to religious freedom. among those rights, it says that the government can't establish any one church. we'll never be officially a catholic country or protestant country or anything else like that. the state has to stay out of the religious marketplace. that's the attention we've talked about. he loves the idea of religious liberty. he wants to preserve the liberty of catholics and everyone else to practice region the way they want. he doesn't have the sort of the
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influence here that he would in a country that has more historically catholic roots. >> i want to head back out to del walters, live on the national mall. >> i am joined by a very special guest, as you can see, things here now in high gear. they are gathering here by that the thousands. with me is a man most know as father joe. father currie, what makes this particular pope so special? >> del, i think we all tend to separate religion and faith from real life in various ways. that's never about that the way jesuits do it. we talk about finding god in all
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things, not just in church on sundays, and francis exemplifies that in very real ways. people see his faith, his commitment to the poor is very real. he's dealing with people. i just heard this morning that here's a guy who spent all day yesterday with people, giving talks, celebrating mass, and you think today before he addresses congress, he'd want to hide away somewhere -- >> let me ask you this. >> he's out with the crowd. >> should the pope shy away from political issues? >> well, i don't see and he doesn't see and jesuits in general don't see a dichotomy between real life with all its
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messiness and your faith. god is to be found in all these different relationships. that's what makes him so real. i think people identify with that, say well, yeah, it's not way out there somewhere. it's -- >> you have been in this town now for decades. have you ever seen this town turn on a dime where all of a sudden they are talking about issues of faith as opposed to the things that divide this particular city? last week we were talking about building a wall with mexico and deporting 11 million immigrants. this week they are talking about passion and kindness. >> it's only someone like francis that can make that happen. that he makes those connections as a part of his life. i think he helps people do that.
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>> as we are looking right now, we are seeing that is the. papal motorcade. going on behind me is the climate rally so from time to time we will be drowned out. back to you. >> here is the motorcade arriving on the grounds of the capitol. we are seeing there right in the middle of your picture the pope's car, the fiat that he has been riding around in, flanked by those heavy duty bulletproof s.u.v.'s with the papal flag flying there. the pope sitting in the back seat. not a lot of room for much of his entourage to. >> him in that car. would you suspect that his
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drains light or is in the car are him? >> the translator. my guess is the pope, mon senior and part of his security detail in the back of that fiat. this notion of the pope of the people driving up in a car that my stand intern tells me is worth less than $20,000. >> there he is driving up to the steps of the capital. he is running five minutes ahead of schedule today, as we see the car meander its way through this very strict security cordon around the capitol. there are tens of thousands of people that will be watching his speech to congress next hour from the west front of the capital. so with this being, he being a
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little bit early, we might expect that his private session with speaker boehner might be extended. that will take place in the ceremony yell speaker's office. we expect as the pope exits here that he will be greeted by speaker boehner, as well as by vice president joe biden, who is the first catholic vice president of that country. patrick, as we see the pope exit, what would you expect this experience to be like for speaker boehner? a lot has been made about how central catholicism has been in the speaker's life. >> both speaker bain are and vice president biden, two of the top officials in the united states government both identify as catholic, both deeply devout religious men. when vice president joe biden buried his son, it was a
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catholic mass presided over by a jesuit priest. they interpret their faith in different materials. i hope the pope's message of unity, he may be able to heal partisan divisions. my guess is he'll talk about things he believes can bring legislators and government leaders together. >> speaker boehner has reportedly extended an invitation to many popes to come and speak to congress. why did francis decide to accept the invitation? >> that's a great question. popes generally don't address the legislators of individual nations. there's a diplomatic convention that jus just as leaders don't t into legislative affairs, there are exceptions.
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there's a general reticence on the part of popes to get involved in this level. pope francis is a pope who says he's about a culture of dialogue and encounter. we have to remember as the pope's car pulls up, this is not just his first time to address congress, it's his first time in the country, to washington, d.c. all of these sights that we're seeing that are so familiar to us are entirely new to the pope. >> i want to bring in david shuster. speaker boehner already looking very emotional, pacing up and down the room. >> he looks nervous. this particular room is the new ceremonial office for the house speaker, just a couple years ago when he was asked and agreed there should be a woman's bathroom just off the house floor, there was an exchange of offices. this used to be a ceremonial room for the house committee
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that decided where the money would be spent. let's listen and see if they've got the audio up on this, we can hear him pacing or being nervous. >> i guess a little too bright. >> sounds like he's talking about the lighting and whether it's ideal. it does speak to the point that every detail, i imagine has been thought out by the speaker. he has had a month to prepare. >> that's right. every detail from who's going to be sitting in what order in those chairs next to him. after the event, there be more private time when nancy pelosi and harry reid will join in. the choreography is so specific, and you know, you can only imagine what it's like when you're in charge of all of that as the speaker of the how was and you also have this
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incredible emotional attachment to the person you are about to meet and this incredible spiritual attachment to your faith as john boehner does. it's just remarkable watching these pictures of him as he anticipates the pope's arrival in just a minute or two. >> what can you tell about the first pontiff to address the u.s. congress? >> this is something that had been tried before with previous house speakers and administrations. they had invited pope john paul ii. there had been invitation to his predecessor, pope francis was essentially the third of the last three to get the invitation, and it was made clear that when the pope agreed that he would come to washington as part of the official washington visit, that's when officials at the vatican, not necessarily the pope said ok, let's do this.
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>> your holiness,ical pull. really glad that you're here. good morning. >> greeting the cardinals who traveled with pope francis, his first words to pope francis,
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your holiness, welcome, really glad you're here. as they sit down now. unfortunately, they are not mic'd and we could not hear what his holiness said to speaker boehner. david, the meeting between these two men, is that going to be private or will we be able to hear what they say? >> i believe that they are going to keep the media in here for at least the first couple of minutes, just as you have photo ops at the white house with foreign dignitaries and after a few minutes are kicked out. speaker boehner suggested that there was nothing that he wanted to say to the pope that needed to be private. i think you might see this go on for sometime. it's interesting that, and i think in accordance with protocol, there's the archbishop, the one most senior
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in the location where the pope happens to be visiting. that will change in new york. boehner was asked if there was anything in particular that he wanted to talk to the hope about and boehner suggested to his staff and also publicly to the press that there wasn't. he wanted a chance to meet him, perhaps talk about his own click faith, share stairs maybe about growing up in ohio and what a big moment this is for a little catholic boy like him as boehner describes himself to meet the leader of the catholic church. >> i want to bring in patrick hornbeck. when you talk about protocol, is it like meeting a monarch? are there certain protocols that speaker boehner and others encounter that should be followed? >> there are protocols, regulations, traditional formalities and like so many things, he's thrown those to large part out the window. tradition eight when a catholic meets a bishop or cardinal or especially the pope, one is
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supposed to kiss his ring. cardinals and bishops wear a special ring, the pope has disposed of that. >> he does not like the ring kissing. >> people kneel down, he raises them up, looks them in the eye and shakes their hand. we've seen that here in the united states. >> would it be expected for speaker boehner to pray with the pope during this visit? >> that's a tricky question. as someone who had gone to catholic school, i think he has to feel nervous about praying in front of the pope. maybe people ask the pope for a blessing. at the end, it's very customary to ask a high ranking clergyman for his blessing. i wouldn't be surprised if we saw the speaker do that. >> i want to bring back david shuster. we talked about speaker boehner extending this invitation. the minority leader of the
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house, nancy pelosi is a devout click. >> when the college of the cardinals made their selection, and then a week later he was officially sworn in, she was among the representatives of president obama, leading the delegation of administration officials in representing the united states. it's worth pointing out that all these leaders in the unit congress and administration have met the pope previously. they've had private audiences with the pope, i believe even speaker boehner has had a private audience with the pope when he has traveled to the vatican. it's very different having a private sort of meeting when you're there, something as a tourist or maybe representative of the u.s. government as opposed to a meeting like this morning. people may be wondering how come we are not seeing live pictures anymore. they've likely taken the media and moved them outside, so some of the pictures we've been
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seeing in the last couple of minutes, the rotunda, which actually has a couple of statues of heroes, including the one canonized yesterday and things that will remind the pontiff have the catholic faith. a lot of people say this should be familiar to somebody who is so familiar with the basilica and st. peter said square. >> there are a lot of catholics in the u.s. congress. by the count i saw, 26 catholics in the senate, 140 catholics in the house. six u.s. supreme court justice are catholic. talk about, you know, the fact that he is addressing a crowd in which 30% of the people are catholic, and yet there are such stark political differences, some of which we expect the pope will devil right into. >> yeah, stephanie, it's a great point. thirty some% of the congress is catholic, only 20% of the u.s.
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voting population and there is a strong political divide within catholics, not only in terms of congress, but how they vote. we were looking back last night just to sort of trends and no president since president kennedy has won the white house without winning a majority of the catholic vote. it's a group that is not necessarily predictable in terms of their politics and over the past couple of years, but issues of climate change, issues of the environment have started to take a little more precedence over the social issues, such as abortion and whether or not there should be gay marriage and everything else the catholic search is divided on. the pope has reflected some of that. democrats don't want to hear necessarily the pope to come in and speak this morning about that there should not be abortion rights, there shouldn't be women in the catholic priesthood, there shouldn't be gay rights.
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they're delighted to hear the pope talk about climate change, rather the pope speak about the central issues. >> just the sheer number of catholics in the u.s. congress, whether that is part of the faith's call to public service with a lot of catholics seeking public office. >> absolutely. catholicism, especially as a jesuit, in the medaling of the gospel with the world, certainly many catholics feel the call to public service. not to say that brought students, or other faiths don't. that often creates dilemmas. i think we remember when secretary of state kerry was running for president, some felt he couldn't go up for communion.
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there are times catholicism is used almost as a political weapon. there are times others come together across the aisle. i think we will see pope francis urging them to do that today. >> it is a beautiful day in our nation's capitol. you can see thousands of people that are on the west front of the capital that are hanging out and the thousands of people expected on the national mall to watch the pope's address to the joint meeting of congress on laryngscreens just taking a wide shot here of the mall. you can see that how big that crowd is, estimates of up to 40,000 with a climate change rally occurring concurrently tong. let's get into a little bit of what we might hear from the pope, patrick. we have hints already of what he may say to congress. what are are the main highlights that you think we will hear? >> pope francis in speaking to congress is in a very interesting place, stephanie.
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he is a ream leader who is addressing a political body. i think that we're probably not going to hear him talking about specific policy proposals. maybe one or two, but not specifics, because he is there to present principles, ideas, these, we talked this morning about how a major focus has been what he calls the care of our common home, that human dignity for everyone needs to be respected. we need to think about the environment, about war, about migration. so those sorts of themes about justice, peace, about human dignity will be things be that he may direct in different moments of the speech, maybe in what we think of as a more conservative direction or maybe in a more liberal direction. he's not going to come down on either side of the u.s. partisan divide. >> patrick, thank you. i want to go back to libby casey, who is live at capitol hill. with more on what is happening around her. libby. >> stephanie, a lot of excitement building here for members of congress who are
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planning to watch this speech. also, there is a lot of interest in what is happening outside on the ground, thousand was people gathered to watch vicariously through the jumbo transand get to experience the pope's presence here on capitol hill. certainly momentous, since he is the first pope ever to address a joint meeting of congress. we're hearing from speaker boehner over the last couple of days how excited he is, telling the local paper in ohio, this is a big step for a man who grew up catholic, in a very catholic home. the house speaker just yesterday put out a message to members and to the public saying here's what i know about the speech. it will be in english. the pope won't be using a teleprompter. that's all i'm concerned about now. >> thank you. you are

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