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tv   Today  NBC  September 24, 2015 10:00am-11:00am EDT

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>> members of congress, i have the high privilege and distinct honor of presenting to you, pope
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mr. vice president, mr. speaker, honorable members of congress, dear friends, i am most grateful for your invitation to address this joint session of congress in the land of the free and the home of the
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from which we have all received so much and toward which we share a common responsibility. each son or daughter of a given country has a mission, a personal and social responsibility. your own responsibility as members of congress is to enable this country, by your legislative activity, to grow as
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a nation. you are the face of its people, their representatives. you are called to defend and preserve the dignity of your fellow citizens in the tireless and demanding pursuit of the common good. for this is the chief aim of all politics. a political society endures when it seeks to stimulate the growth of all its members. especially those in situations
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of the greater vulnerability of ri tsk, legislating the activity is always better to take care of the party. you are to serve those who elect you. yours is a work which makes me reflect in two ways on the figure of moses. on the one hand, the patriarch and law giver of the people of israel symbolizes the need of peoples to keep alive their sense of unity by means of just legislation. on the other, the
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directly to god and thus to the transcendent dignity of the human being. moses provides us with a good synthesis of your work. you are asked to protect, by means of the law, the image and likeness fashioned by god on every human life. today i would like not only to address you, but through you the entire people of the united states.
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here, together with their representatives, i would like to take this opportunity to dialogue with the many thousands of men and women who strive each day to do an honest day's work, to bring home their daily bread, to save money and, one step at a time, to build a better life for their families. these are men and women who are not concerned simply with paying their taxes, but in their own quiet way sustain the life of
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[ applause ] they generate solidarity by their actions, and they create organizations which offer a helping hand to those most in need. i would also like to enter into dialogue with the many elderly persons who are a storehouse of wisdom forged by experience, and who seek in many ways, especially through volunteer work, to share their stories and their insights. i know that many of them are
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they keep working to build up this land. i also want to dialogue with all those young people who are working to realize their great and noble aspirations, who are not led astray by facile proposals, and who face difficult situations, often as a result of immaturity on the part of many adults. i wish to dialogue with all of
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through the historical memory of your people. my visit takes place at a time when men and women of good will are marking the anniversaries of several great americans. the complexities of history and the reality of human weakness notwithstanding, these men and women, for all their many differences and limitations, were able by hard work and self-sacrifice, some at the cost of their lives, to build a better future.
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which will endure forever in the spirit of the american people. a people with this spirit can live through many crises, tensions and conflicts, while always finding the resources to move forward, and to do so with dignity. these men and women offer us a way of seeing and interpreting reality. in honoring their memory, we are inspired, even amid conflicts, and in the here and now of each
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cultural reserves. i would like to mention four of these americans. abraham lincoln, martin luther king, dorothy day and thomas merton. [ applause ] this year marks the 150th anniversary of the assassination of president abraham lincoln, the guardian of liberty, who labored tirelessly that this
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nation, under god, might have a new birth of freedom. building a future of freedom requires love of the common good and cooperation in a spirit of subsidiarity and solidarity. all of us are quite aware of, and deeply worried by the disturbing social and political situation of the world today. our world is increasingly a place of violent conflict, hatred and brutal atrocities, committed even in the name of
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we know that no religion is immu from forms of individual delusion or ideological extremism. this means that we must be especially attentive to every type of fundamentalism, whether religious or of any other kind. a delicate balance is required to combat violence perpetrated in the name of a religion, an ideology or an economic system, while also safeguarding
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freedom and individual freedoms. but there is another temptation which we must especially guard against, the simplistic reductionism which sees only good or evil, or, if you will, the righteous and sinners. the contemporary world, with its open wounds which affect so many of our brothers and sisters, demands that we confront every form of polarization which would
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we know that in the attempt to be freed of the enemy without, we can be tempted to feed the enemy within. to imitate the hatred and violence of tyrants and murderers is the best way to take their place. that is something which you, as a people, reject. [ applause ] our response must instead be one of hope and healing, of peace and justice. we are asked to summon the
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resolve today's many geopolitical and economic crises. even in the developed world, the effects of unjust structures and actions are all too apparent. our efforts must aim at restoring hope, righting wrongs, maintaining commitments, and thus promoting the well-being of individualn and of peoples. we must move forward together, as one, in a renewed spirit of
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cooperating generously for the common good. the challenges facing us today call for a renewal of that spirit of cooperation, which has accomplished so much good throughout the history of the united states. e complexity, the gravity and the urgency of these challenges demand that we pool our resources and talents, and resolve to support one another, with respect for our differences
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conscience. [ applause ] in this land, the various religious denominations have greatly contributed to building and strengthening society. it is important that today, as in the past, the voice of faith continue to be heard, for it is a voice of fraternity and love, which tries to bring out the best in each person and in each society. such cooperation is a powerful
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eliminate new global forms of slavery, born of grave injustices which can be overcome only through new policies and ne ow forms of social consensus. politics is instead an expressionnof our compelling need to leave us one, in order to build as one, the greatest common good. that of a community which sacrifices particular interests
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believes its words, its intellect, its social life. i don't know the difficulty that this involves. but i encourage you in this effort. [ applause ] here i think of the march which martin luther king led from selma 50 years ago as part of the campaign to fulfill his
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for african-americans. [ applause ] that dream continues to inspire us all and i am happy that america continues to be for many a land of dreams. [ applause ]
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deepest and truest in the life of the people. in recent centuries, millions of people came to this land to pursue their dream of building a future in freedom. we, the people of this continent, are not fearful of foreigners, because most of us ei-- because most of us were once
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immigrants. tragically, the rights of those who were here long before us were not always respected. for those peoples and theii nations, from the heart of americanemocracy, i wish to reaffirm my highest esteem and appreciation. those first contacts were often
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know it is very difficult to judge the past by the criteria of the present. nonetheless, when the stranger in our midst appeals to us, we must not repeat the sins and the errors of the past. [ applause ] we must resolve now to live as nobly and as justly as possible, as we educate new generations not to turn their back on our neighbors and everything around us.
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recognize that we must constantly relate to others, rejecting a mindset of hostility in order to adopt one of reciprocal subsidiarity, in a constant effort to do our best. i am confident that we can do this. our world is facing a refugee crisis of a magnitude not seen since the second world war. this presents us with great challenges and many hard decisions.
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led to travel north in search of a better life for themselves and for their loved ones, in search of greater opportunities. is this not what we want for our own children? [ applause ] we must not be taken aback by their numbers, but rather view them as persons, seeing their faces and listening to their stories, trying to respond as best we can to their situation. to respond in a way which is
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always humane, just and fraternal. we need to avoid a common temptation nowadays, to discard whatever proves troublesome. let us remember the golden rule, do unto others as you -- [ applause ] "do unto others as you would have them do unto you."
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direction. let us treat others with the same passion and compassion with which we want to be treated. let us seek for others the same possibilities which we seek for ourselves. let us help others to grow, as we would like to be helped ourselves. in a word, if we want security, let us give security. if we want life, let us give life. if we want opportunities, let us provide opportunities.
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will be the yardstick which time will use for us. [ applause ] and defend human life at every
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[ applause ] this conviction has led me, from the beginning of my ministry, to advocate at different levels for the global abolition of the death penalty. [ applause ] i am convinced that this way is the best, since every life is sacred, every human person is endowed with an inalienable dignity, and society can only benefit from the rehabilitation of those convicted of crimes. recently my brother bishops here
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in the united states renewed their call for the abolition of the death penalty. not only do i support them, but i also offer encouragement to all those who are convinced that a just and necessary punishment must never exclude the dimension of hope and the goal of rehabilitation. [ applause ] in these times when social
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concerns are so important, i cannot fail to mention the servant of god dorothy day, who founded the catholic worker movement. her social activism, her passion for justice and for the cause of the oppressed, were inspired by the gospel, her faith, and the example of the saints. how much progress has been made in this area in so many parts of the world. how much has been done in these first years of the third millennium to raise people out of extreme poverty. i know that you share my
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needs to be done, and that in times of crisis and economic hardship a spirit of global solidarity must not be lost. at the same time i would encourage you to keep in mind all those people around us who are trapped in a cycle of poverty. they too need to be given hope. the fight against poverty and hunger must be fought constantly and on many fronts, especially in its causes. i know that many americans
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working to deal with this problem. it goes without saying that part of this great effort is the creation and distribution of wealth. the right use of natural resources, the proper application of technology and the harnessing of the spirit of enterprise are essentin elements of an economy which seeks to be modern, inclusive and sustainable. [ applause ] business is a noble vocation,
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directed to producing wealth and improving the world. it can be a fruitful source of prosperity for the area in which it operates, especially if it sees the creation of jobs as an essential part of its service to the common good. [ applause ] this common good also includes the earth, a central theme of the encyclical which i recently wrote in order to enter into dialogue with all people about
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our common home. we need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all. in laudato si', i call for a courageous and responsible effort to redirect our step, and to avert the most serious effects of the environmental deterioration caused by human activity.
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i'm sure -- [ applause ] and i have no doubt that the united states and this congress have an important role to play. now is the time for courageous actions and strategies, aimed at implementing a culture of care and an integrated approach to combating poverty, restoring
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the same time protecting nature. [ applause ] we have the freedom needed to limit and direct technology, to devise intelligent ways of developing and limiting our power, and to put technology at the service of another type of progress, one which is healthier, more human, more social, more integral. in this regard, i am confident that america's outstanding academic and research
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contribution in the years ahead. [ applause ] a century ago, at the beginning of the great war, which pope benedict xv termed a pointless slaughter, another notable american was born. the cistercian monk thomas merton. he remains a source of spiritual inspiration and a guide for many people. in his autobiography, merton
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wrote, i came into the world. free by nature, in the image of god, i was nevertheless the prisoner of my own violence and my own selfishness, in the image of the world into which i was born. that world was the picture of hell, full of men like myself, loving god, and yet hating him. born to love him, living instead in fear of hopeless self-contradictory hungers.
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prayer, a thinker who challenged the certitudes of his time and opened new horizons for souls and for the church. he was also a man of dialogue, a promoter of peace between peoples and religions. from this perspective of dialogue, i would like to recognize the efforts made in recent months to help overcome historic differences linked to painful episodes of the past. it is my duty to build bridges
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in any way possible, to do the same. when countries which have been at odds resume the path of dialogue, a dialogue which may have been interrupted for the most legitimate of reasons, new opportunities open up for all. [ applause ] this has required, and requires, courage and daring, which is not the same as irresponsibility. a good political leader is one who, with the interests of all
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in mind, seizes the moment in a spirit of openness and pragmatism. a good political leader always opts to initiate processes rather than possessing spaces. be ing at the service of dialogue and peace also means being truly determined to minimize and, in the long term, to end the many
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world. here we have to ask ourselves, why are deadly weapons being sold to those who plan to inflict untold suffering on individuals and society? sadly, the answer, as we all know, is simply for money, money at is drenched in blood, often innocent blood. in the face of this shameful and culpable silence, it is our duty
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stop the arms trade. [ applause ] three sons and one daughter of this land, four individuals and four dreams. lincoln, liberty. martin luther king, liberty in plurality and non-exclusion. dorothy day, social justice and the rights of persons. and thomas merton, the capacity for dialogue and openness to god.
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four representatives of the american people. i will end my visit to your country in philadelphia, where i will take part in the world meeting of families. it is my wish that throughout my visit the family should be a recurrent theme. how essential the family has been to the building of this country.
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and how worthy it remains of our support and encouragement. yet i cannot hide my concern for the family, which is threatened, perhaps as never before, from within and without. fundamental relationships are being called into question, as is the very basis of marriage and the family. i can only reiterate the importance and, above all, the richness and the beauty of family life. [ applause ]
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call attention to those family members who are the most vulnerable. the young. for many of them a future filled with countless possibilities beckons. yet so many others seem disoriented and aimless, trapped in a hopeless maze of violence, abuse and despair. their problems are our problems. we cannot avoid them. we need to face them together. to talk about them and to seek
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getting bogged down in discussions. at the risk of oversimplifying, we might say that we live in a culture which pressures young people not to start a family, because they lack possibilities for the future. yet this same culture presents others with so many options that they too are dissuaded from starting a family. a nation can be considered great
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lincoln did, when it fosters a culture which enables people to dream of full rights for all their brothers and sisters, as martin luther king sought to do, when it strives for justice and the cause of the oppressed, as dorothy day did by her tireless work, the fruit of a faith which becomes dialogue and sows peace in the contemplative style of thomas merton. in these remarks i have sought to present some of the richness of your cultural heritage, of
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people. it is my desire that this spirit continue to develop and grow, so that as many young people as possible can inherit and dwell in a land which has inspired so many people to dream. god bless america! [ applause ] >> pope francis making history, becoming the first ever to speak before congress. it was a stirring speech, lasting about 51 or 52 minutes and touching on all of the major themes that had been promised, religious freedom, climate change and the environment,
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of fear, protection of human life as he said at all stages. his opposition to the death penalty. and our renewed relations with cuba. it had been said that lawmakers had been told not to react to the themes of this speech as they would have a state of the union address, but they did anyway. standing and cheering. i think it only added to the power of the speech and the power of the moment and he seemed to grow more confident speaking in english as the speech went on. chuck todd is watching and has been watching. it was not supposed to be political, but what will the politicians be talking about tonight, chuck? >> well, look, i think it was political, but i think the most powerful part of the address and the overarching message that i think he was trying to deliver was he was very aware of our political polarization and he spent the first half of his speech and in many ways how many times did you hear the phrase common good, consensus, pragmatism? he was really trying to inspire
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differences and figure out okay, what is the lone goal, figure out how to get to the solutions. he got to some specifics in the speech but i think that large, powerful part of this speech and the message that i hope members of congress from both sides heard was this idea they got to work together and he was using the history of american democracy almost to try to maybe lecture and inspire that group in there, to do the right thing in a larger sense. he got the specific issues. i think it's interesting what he chose to go into deal on, climate change t immigration issue, income inequality. and what he was more subtle about, he talked about abortion and gay marriage, but he was very much less -- much less issues. >> some of the people gathered
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believe he's coming out. as he does that, bishop robert barron of los angeles is with us. as a religious speech, what struck you? >> i was tearing up many times during the speech. i line them up, left wing and right wing issues. i think it was wonderful he structured it along the lines, and thomas merton as i sit in the middle of manhattan, he went to columbia university. walking down fifth avenue, seeing the books in the bookstore that changed his life, led him to become a trappist monk. i read his book when i was 17. it's major move for the priests and merton's openness to god. left and right, all part of catholic social teaching which is grounded in a sense of god. >> you gave a thumbs up, your work -- referring to the people in the room, is work that makes you reflect in many ways on the figure of moses.
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moses in the chamber. i thought it was wonderful. one nation under god. it's a groundedness in the law. >> maria shriver, you were watching and listening as well. interesting to hear your perspective over the last day. what do you think? >> i agree with many of the things that the bishop and chuck both said, but for me, i thought the speech was aspirational. i thought it was thoughtful. i thought it was deep. i agree with the bishop, the four people he focus on, lincoln. martin luther king, he talked about him at the white house. dorothy day and thomas merton. i was glad that he mentioned dorothy day. a journalist. a woman who was also very committed to social justice, social action. and doesn't get a lot of attention. many people think think she should be a saint along with mother teresa.
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individuals are complex individuals, and he talked about them and in their own way which brings us back to we can all do great things. as complex as we are. we don't have been to perfect. that's no such thing, but each of can contribute to the common good. i agree with chuck, the common home, that's how he talks about all of these things. shared responsibility. dialogue is what moves us forward. i think all of these phrases i was touched by the way when he walked into the applause. he put his hands over his heart. >> right. >> he was very gracious. i think this was a gracious, aspirational speech, that people ofid different faiths and different political persuasions could take in many different ways. >> i want to go to peter alexander now because he's on the capitol grounds and as we can see, pope francis is making his way through the hallway. and he will in a second step out on to the balcony. peter, let me turn to you, you're surrounded by people. take me through what happens as
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they get their glimpse of this pope. >> well, for the last hour or so, the people here have basically been watching like we have on television, this visit by pope francis. and in matter of moments they're going to bet the moment they have been waiting for. which is the chance to see him walk on to that speaker's balcony. this is historic not only because he was the first pope to speak before the joint meeting of congress, but the first anybody, the first individual to give remarks from the speaker's balcony. 50,000 tickets distributed here. and the moment during those remarks, during the pope's speech to congress that really -- we hear applause again as the cameras show him once again, was when he referred to the golden rule. that was the biggest ovation, the biggest applause. i think for many of the families that we have met here today, for them that is the single greatest life lesson that they can take home from this. the one that's applicable not just to the adults in this audience, but to all the young children.
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>> standing in the stattary right now a poignant moment. >> very moving to see that, controversy about the statue being there so i think his presence is very moving. >> as he makes his way to the balcony, kelly, you had a front row seat to history. what was the feeling like in the room? >> matt, i think this was an engaged but restrained level of political involvement. very different than when i have observed the president addressing congress or other world leaders like benjamin netanyahu. members of congress were listening intently. i watched as bernie sanders cupped both ears to hear a bit better as he talked about poverty and social justice. i watched closely as james
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much against the notion that a human being affects climate change, his hands were tightly clasped, not applauding as others did, when the holy father talked attack environment. behind me is chris christie and ben carson, spoke to both of them. they said they wanted to be here, to acknowledge this man of faith and to experience this once in a lifetime first ever address by a pope to congress. >> kelly, thank you very much. there were some moments that seemed as if some of the lawmakers, the people in the room were moved nearly to tears. i think i saw john boehner choking up at some point. of course he's somewhat famous for that, but it was obviously a moving experience for him. having met the pope earlier in his office and then there's a moment right there and then watching him and listening to him deliver that speech. nobody in that room as much as they have done and seen in their lifetime will ever forget the moments that they just experienced. >> extraordinary.
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i was very moved by it.


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