Pope Francis’ historic visit to the U.S. this week was a way to spread the Catholic church’s message about family, according to those who helped put the visit together.
Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, the Rev. Federico Lombardi and the Rev. Manuel Dorantes said the same message will be the focus until he leaves Sunday night.
While they did dodge some questions about race relations, the meaning of family and whether or not the pope would visit with victims of sexual abuse within the church, the trio did their best to spread the message.
When the pope first began his “whirlwind” trip in New York he made a poignant point people should take away from this visit, Kurtz said. When speaking to the United Nations he “beautifully said ‘please be close to one another.’”
“It was a beautiful and powerful speech about the common conscience,” Kurtz said, adding he touched on everything the UN is taking up, from climate change to war to the right to life.
The “most moving” event though, he said, had to be Pope Francis at Ground Zero.
“It’s usually symbolic of sadness and fear, but it became an occasion of great hope,” Kurtz said.
The family first message continued during Francis’ stops Washington, D.C., and New York as well, Lombardi said.
“In Congress the pope spoke in a very positive way about family,” Lombardi said. “In the U.N., he spoke about human nature and the nature of men and women.”
“Family” can mean a lot of different things to different people and when confronted with a question about how the pope feels about the many different ways families can be constructed in the U.S., Lombardi somewhat dodged the question, saying he doesn’t know what the pope will say in the next few days, but Francis has “spoken about the beauty of family and how wonderful life in the Christian marriage is.