Philadelphia (CNN)He introduced himself as a brother, a son of immigrants, a neighbor from beyond our southern border.
He wanted our politicians to remember the country’s founding principles, he said, and encourage them to protect our families and our earth from an uncertain future.
In a country where Christianity often comes wrapped in an American flag, he said that we are better when we work together, when we don’t set aside our differences but celebrate them — wherever we are from, whatever God we worship.
He wanted to meet us, finally, to look into our eyes and share our struggles. And so he did — this man whose mantra is the “culture of encounter.”
For six days it seemed the earth tilted toward the man wearing the simple white cassock and the Mona Lisa smile. Wherever Pope Francis went in Washington, New York and Philadelphia, we eddied and pooled around him, cries rising from the crowd as he approached.
In Washington, he shook hands with our President, stood silent through our pomp or showy sense of history. And then, in a soft, grandfatherly voice, he reminded our Congress that history speaks not only through the perfect and the proud, but also through the flawed and the humble.
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