Pope Francis has been quick to set the tone for his first-ever visit as pontiff to the United States.
Greeted at the White House by the Obamas and a military band, his speech included appeals for America to become a “truly tolerant and inclusive society”, and a warning to America’s Catholic bishops that child abuse was a horror that “must never happen again”.
“You reminded us that the Lord’s most powerful message is mercy. That means welcoming the stranger with empathy and a truly open heart, from the refugee who flees war-torn lands to the emigrant who leaves home in search of a better life,” said Obama.
He also praised President Obama’s efforts to fight climate change.
“It seems clear to me also that climate change is a problem that can no longer be left to future generations,” said Francis.
He then won the hearts of the crowd when he overrode his motorcade’s security detail to allow a little girl to approach the popemobile with a gift.
Not all Americans are glad to see him, however, with some sections of the media boiling over with criticism of the pope’s positions on several issues.