What the Pope’s Speech Won’t Do

Pope Francis’s trip to America has riveted the media and the public. So it is little surprise that politicians are hoping to exploit his presence and remarks in order to promote their own agendas. Since there are aspects of the pontiff’s stances that dovetail with both the left and the right, he has become something of an equal opportunity bandwagon for Democrats and Republicans to jump on. Democrats hope the Pope’s words about the environment, immigration, and social justice will boost them while Republicans can point to his references to abortion and religious freedom that puts him on their sides of those arguments. But since the emphasis of his remarks has primarily been on issues where he is more in agreement with liberals, his visit and, in particular, his address to a joint meeting of Congress has been viewed as events which can have an impact on American political debates. Indeed, there’s little doubt that the White House is hoping the fanfare over the popular Pope will give it an advantage over their Republican opponents. But such expectations about the Pope’s speech are almost certainly going to be disappointed. There are two reasons why this is so.

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What the Pope’s Speech Won’t Do

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