RELIGION

Pope Francis Addresses President Obama And Guests At White House (Full Transcript)

Here's the full text of the speech.

Pope Francis addressed the nation from the South Lawn of the White House on Wednesday, touching on the topics that are closest to his heart. 

The pontiff, speaking in English, talked about climate change, immigration, and care for those on the margins of society.  Pope Francis quoted from Martin Luther King, Jr.'s famous "I Have a Dream" speech.  

The pope also lifted up the right to religious liberty, calling it "one of America's most precious possessions." 

"As my brothers, the United States Bishops, have reminded us, all are called to be vigilant, precisely as good citizens, to preserve and defend that freedom from everything that would threaten or compromise it," he said.

 Read the pope's comments below.

Mr. President,

I am deeply grateful for your welcome in the name of all Americans. As the son of an immigrant family, I am happy to be a guest in this country, which was largely built by such families. I look forward to these days of encounter and dialogue, in which I hope to listen to, and share, many of the hopes and dreams of the American people.

During my visit I will have the honor of addressing Congress, where I hope, as a brother of this country, to offer words of encouragement to those called to guide the nation’s political future in fidelity to its founding principles. I will also travel to Philadelphia for the Eighth World Meeting of Families, to celebrate and support the institutions of marriage and the family at this, a critical moment in the history of our civilization.

Mr. President, together with their fellow citizens, American Catholics are committed to building a society which is truly tolerant and inclusive, to safeguarding the rights of individuals and communities, and to rejecting every form of unjust discrimination. With countless other people of good will, they are likewise concerned that efforts to build a just and wisely ordered society respect their deepest concerns and their right to religious liberty. That freedom remains one of America’s most precious possessions. And, as my brothers, the United States Bishops, have reminded us, all are called to be vigilant, precisely as good citizens, to preserve and defend that freedom from everything that would threaten or compromise it.

Mr. President, I find it encouraging that you are proposing an initiative for reducing air pollution. Accepting the urgency, it seems clear to me also that climate change is a problem which can no longer be left to a future generation. When it comes to the care of our “common home”, we are living at a critical moment of history. We still have time to make the changes needed to bring about “a sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change” (Laudato Si’, 13). Such change demands on our part a serious and responsible recognition not only of the kind of world we may be leaving to our children, but also to the millions of people living under a system which has overlooked them. Our common home has been part of this group of the excluded which cries out to heaven and which today powerfully strikes our homes, our cities and our societies. To use a telling phrase of the Reverend Martin Luther King, we can say that we have defaulted on a promissory note and now is the time to honor it.

We know by faith that “the Creator does not abandon us; he never forsakes his loving plan or repents of having created us. Humanity still has the ability to work together in building our common home” (Laudato Si’, 13). As Christians inspired by this certainty, we wish to commit ourselves to the conscious and responsible care of our common home.

The efforts which were recently made to mend broken relationships and to open new doors to cooperation within our human family represent positive steps along the path of reconciliation, justice and freedom. I would like all men and women of good will in this great nation to support the efforts of the international community to protect the vulnerable in our world and to stimulate integral and inclusive models of development, so that our brothers and sisters everywhere may know the blessings of peace and prosperity which God wills for all his children.

Mr. President, once again I thank you for your welcome, and I look forward to these days in your country. God bless America!

  • Goodbye Pope Francis!
    Pope Francis looks out the window of his plane before departing Philadelphia on September 27, 2015 at the end of his six-day
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    Pope Francis looks out the window of his plane before departing Philadelphia on September 27, 2015 at the end of his six-day visit to the US. 
  • People pray during a mass celebrated by Pope Francis.
    BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI via Getty Images
    People pray during a mass celebrated by Pope Francis.
  • A family watches a Mass on a large screen with Pope Francis in downtown Philadelphia.
    ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS via Getty Images
    A family watches a Mass on a large screen with Pope Francis in downtown Philadelphia.
  • A family prays as they watch a Mass on a large screen.
    ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS via Getty Images
    A family prays as they watch a Mass on a large screen.
  • A family watches a Mass on a large screen with Pope Francis in downtown Philadelphia.
    ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS via Getty Images
    A family watches a Mass on a large screen with Pope Francis in downtown Philadelphia.
  • Catholic devotees sing as they watch Pope Francis' Mass.
    ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS via Getty Images
    Catholic devotees sing as they watch Pope Francis' Mass.
  • Women pray as they watch the Mass.
    ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS via Getty Images
    Women pray as they watch the Mass.
  •  A U.S. Army serviceman receives communion during a Mass celebrated by Pope Francis at Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
    Pool via Getty Images
     A U.S. Army serviceman receives communion during a Mass celebrated by Pope Francis at Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
  • Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli (C) walks to receive communion.
    Pool via Getty Images
    Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli (C) walks to receive communion.
  • Catholic devotees watch a Mass on a large screen with Pope Francis in downtown Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on September 27, 20
    ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS via Getty Images
    Catholic devotees watch a Mass on a large screen with Pope Francis in downtown Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on September 27, 2015. AFP PHOTO/ ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS (Photo credit should read Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images)
  • A woman does the sign of the cross as she take part in a Mass with Pope Francis in downtown Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on Sep
    ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS via Getty Images
    A woman does the sign of the cross as she take part in a Mass with Pope Francis in downtown Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on September 27, 2015. AFP PHOTO/ ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS (Photo credit should read Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images)
  • People pray during a mass celebrated by Pope Francis for the World Meeting of Families on Benjamin Franklin Parkway September
    BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI via Getty Images
    People pray during a mass celebrated by Pope Francis for the World Meeting of Families on Benjamin Franklin Parkway September 27, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Pope Francis is in the United State for the last of 6 days during his first trip as the leader of the Catholic Church. AFP PHOTO/BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Priests offer the crowd communion at Mass along Philadelphia's Benjamin Franklin Parkway on Sept. 27, 2015.
    Jaweed Kaleem/The Huffington Post
    Priests offer the crowd communion at Mass along Philadelphia's Benjamin Franklin Parkway on Sept. 27, 2015.
  • PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 27: Pope Francis celebrates mass during the World Meeting of Families on September 27, 2015 in P
    Justin Sullivan via Getty Images
    PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 27: Pope Francis celebrates mass during the World Meeting of Families on September 27, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 
  • PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 27: Pope Francis delivers the homily as he celebrates mass at the World Meeting of Families at B
    Pool via Getty Images
    PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 27: Pope Francis delivers the homily as he celebrates mass at the World Meeting of Families at Benjamin Franklin Parkway on September 27, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 
  • Pope Francis celebrates Mass at Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on September 27, 2015. 
    VINCENZO PINTO via Getty Images
    Pope Francis celebrates Mass at Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on September 27, 2015. 
  • Chalices for communion are set during a mass celebrated by Pope Francis at Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia, Pennsyl
    VINCENZO PINTO via Getty Images
    Chalices for communion are set during a mass celebrated by Pope Francis at Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on September 27, 2015. 
  • PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 27: Pope Francis greets corrections officers during a visit to the Curran-Fromhold Correction Fa
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    PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 27: Pope Francis greets corrections officers during a visit to the Curran-Fromhold Correction Facility September 27, 015 in in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
  • Pope Francis waves to the audience after speaking at Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary, September 27, 2015 in Wynnewwod, Pennsy
    Drew Angerer via Getty Images
    Pope Francis waves to the audience after speaking at Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary, September 27, 2015 in Wynnewwod, Pennsylvania. After visiting Washington and New York City, Pope Francis concludes his tour of the U.S. with events in Philadelphia on Saturday and Sunday. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
  • Pope Francis presents an image of Our Lady of Charity from Cuba to Charles Chaput, Archbishop of Philadelphia, at Saint Charl
    Drew Angerer via Getty Images
    Pope Francis presents an image of Our Lady of Charity from Cuba to Charles Chaput, Archbishop of Philadelphia, at Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary.
  • Pope Francis met privately with survivors of sexual abuse at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary on Sunday morning.&nbsp;<br><br>Re
    ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS via Getty Images
    Pope Francis met privately with survivors of sexual abuse at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary on Sunday morning. 

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  • PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 26: Pope Francis attends the Festival of Families along Benjamin Franklin Parkway on September 2
    Pool via Getty Images
    PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 26: Pope Francis attends the Festival of Families along Benjamin Franklin Parkway on September 26, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Pope Francis wraps up his trip to the United States with two days in Philadelphia, attending the Festival of Families and meeting with prisoners at the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility. (Photo by Eric Thayer-Pool/Getty Images)
  • Pope Francis arrives for the Festival of Families in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on September 26, 2015.  AFP PHOTO / VINCENZO
    VINCENZO PINTO via Getty Images
    Pope Francis arrives for the Festival of Families in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on September 26, 2015. AFP PHOTO / VINCENZO PINTO (Photo credit should read VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images)
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