Pope Calls For Action On Climate Change

President Barack Obama and Pope Francis stand at attention during playing of the national anthems to begin the state arrival ceremony, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015, on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

President Barack Obama and Pope Francis stand at attention during playing of the national anthems to begin the state arrival ceremony, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015, on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

WASHINGTON -- The latest developments in Pope Francis' visit to the United States. All times local:

9:45 a.m.

The pope says climate change is an urgent problem that "can no longer be left to a future generation."

Francis waded into that hot-button political issue in remarks at the White House, where President Barack Obama and a crowd of thousands welcomed him.

The pope praised Obama for focusing on the environment and the need to cut air pollution, calling it "encouraging."

Francis cast climate change as a peril to what he called our "common home" in a speech that also called for safeguarding religious liberty and rejecting discrimination.

On climate change, he says time remains to make changes that are needed but also warns that "we are living at a critical moment of history."

Climate change is one of several issues on which the pope and the president agree, though Republicans in Congress have blocked many of Obama's efforts to address the issue by law.

Francis is on his first visit to the U.S.

---

9:30 a.m.

President Barack Obama is commending Pope Francis for "shaking us out of complacency" and giving people confidence to pursue a world that is more loving, just and free.

Obama is speaking at a crowded welcome ceremony for the pope on the South Lawn of the White House. The president says the excitement surrounding the pope's visit must be attributed not only to his role as head of the Catholic Church, but also Francis' humility and generosity of spirit.

Obama is singling out the pope's call for focusing on the poor and the marginalized, including refugees fleeing war and immigrants in search of a better life. He's also highlighting the pope's call for protecting the planet and supporting communities vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

The president is thanking the pope for his support for efforts to normalize relations between the U.S. and Cuba.

---

9:20 a.m.

The Obamas and a crowd of thousands are welcoming the pope to the White House.

After lingering with young people outside the Vatican's diplomatic mission, Francis arrived at the White House for a welcome on the South Lawn heralded by the call of bugles and snappy salutes. Under sunny skies, the crowd of invited guests, military personnel and officials gathered for remarks by President Barack Obama and the pope. The president and his wife, Michelle, greeted him when he emerged from his Fiat, his modest vehicle of choice.

---

9 a.m.

Before leaving for the White House, Pope Francis took his time greeting schoolchildren outside the Vatican's diplomatic mission in Washington where he spent the night.

The children hugged him, took picture and waved Holy See flags. They were dressed to the nines, some in school uniforms. The pope lingered in conversation with some, and patted heads.

Aside from his bodyguards, Francis is accompanied by Monsignor Mark Miles, his trusty English translator, but he didn't seem to need his services.

Francis greeted the kids before getting into his car to travel to the White House for his meeting with President Barack Obama.

---

8:50 a.m.

Minutes before Pope Francis was to arrive at the White House, President Barack Obama tweeted a welcome message to him.

Here's what Obama's tweet says: "Welcome to the White House, (at)Pontifex!" - that's the pope's Vatican Twitter feed.

Obama says that Francis' "messages of love, hope and peace have inspired us all."

Obama went to a military airport in Maryland to greet the pope for his U.S. arrival Tuesday.

---

8:40 a.m.

Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist and other religious leaders are at the White House to help welcome Pope Francis.

But some Jews are missing out on the excitement.

Francis' visit to the White House coincides with Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year for Jews. They spend the day repenting and atoning for any sins.

The holiday began at sundown Tuesday and ends at sundown Wednesday - hours after the pope will have left the White House.

The White House says the invitation-only crowd of some 15,000 also includes people who don't lead religious groups or aren't connected with faith-based organizations but who just have "a great regard for the pope and his message."

Observant Jews can participate in some of the pope's other events in the nation's capital, such as his address at the Capitol on Thursday.

---

8:30 a.m.

Raeann Meier and Mary Darnell are among the lucky ones to land tickets for Thursday's papal mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

Meier, who's from Round Hill, Virginia, won a pair of tickets in her church lottery and is bringing fellow parishioner Darnell.

Meier says of Francis: "There is just no pope like this one." She says "Jesus hung out with the dregs - the tax collectors, the prostitutes" and "that's the way this pope is."

---

7:50 a.m.

An elaborate welcoming ceremony full of American pomp and pageantry awaits Pope Francis when he goes to the White House.

The pope is scheduled to arrive by motorcade at about 9 a.m., his car pulling slowly up the South Lawn driveway to a red carpet, where President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, will be waiting to greet him.

In front of an estimated 15,000 people who were invited by the White House to witness the historic moment, Obama will then lead Francis to a dais decked out with even more red carpet and red, white and blue bunting, and ringed by military color guards. The Vatican and American national anthems will play. Obama will deliver a welcome address to the pope, followed by the pope's address.

Francis will also receive a thunderous 21-gun salute.

---

7:05 a.m.

The morning light is just hitting the streets surrounding the National Mall in Washington, and already there's a buzz of pope-related activity.

People hoping to catch a glimpse of Pope Francis during a late morning parade are lining up for a coveted spot along the route.

Police and the Secret Service are enforcing road closures in the area and directing foot traffic.

The parade is the only nonticketed event during the pope's visit to the capital, and a big crowd is expected.

---

6:30 a.m.

As a head of state, Pope Francis officially is in the U.S. on what's known as a "state visit."

But the formal ceremony Wednesday morning on the White House South Lawn will be slightly different from most state arrival ceremonies.

For one thing, President Barack Obama and Francis will not review the troops, as presidents do with other visiting leaders. That's because the pontiff controls no armed forces.

Nor will Francis return to the White House in the evening as the guest at a lavish state dinner, one of the highlights of most state visits.

That's largely because of Francis' busy schedule.

The pope is spending the rest of the day with Roman Catholic bishops and other church officials and celebrating Mass at Catholic University.

9:20 a.m.

The Obamas and a crowd of thousands are welcoming the pope to the White House.

After lingering with young people outside the Vatican's diplomatic mission, Francis arrived at the White House for a welcome on the South Lawn heralded by the call of bugles and snappy salutes. Under sunny skies, the crowd of invited guests, military personnel and officials gathered for remarks by President Barack Obama and the pope. The president and his wife, Michelle, greeted him when he emerged from his Fiat, his modest vehicle of choice.

---

9 a.m.

Before leaving for the White House, Pope Francis took his time greeting schoolchildren outside the Vatican's diplomatic mission in Washington where he spent the night.

The children hugged him, took picture and waved Holy See flags. They were dressed to the nines, some in school uniforms. The pope lingered in conversation with some, and patted heads.

Aside from his bodyguards, Francis is accompanied by Monsignor Mark Miles, his trusty English translator, but he didn't seem to need his services.

Francis greeted the kids before getting into his car to travel to the White House for his meeting with President Barack Obama.

---

8:50 a.m.

Minutes before Pope Francis was to arrive at the White House, President Barack Obama tweeted a welcome message to him.

Here's what Obama's tweet says: "Welcome to the White House, (at)Pontifex!" - that's the pope's Vatican Twitter feed.

Obama says that Francis' "messages of love, hope and peace have inspired us all."

Obama went to a military airport in Maryland to greet the pope for his U.S. arrival Tuesday.

---

8:40 a.m.

Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist and other religious leaders are at the White House to help welcome Pope Francis.

But some Jews are missing out on the excitement.

Francis' visit to the White House coincides with Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year for Jews. They spend the day repenting and atoning for any sins.

The holiday began at sundown Tuesday and ends at sundown Wednesday - hours after the pope will have left the White House.

The White House says the invitation-only crowd of some 15,000 also includes people who don't lead religious groups or aren't connected with faith-based organizations but who just have "a great regard for the pope and his message."

Observant Jews can participate in some of the pope's other events in the nation's capital, such as his address at the Capitol on Thursday.

---

8:30 a.m.

Raeann Meier and Mary Darnell are among the lucky ones to land tickets for Thursday's papal mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

Meier, who's from Round Hill, Virginia, won a pair of tickets in her church lottery and is bringing fellow parishioner Darnell.

Meier says of Francis: "There is just no pope like this one." She says "Jesus hung out with the dregs - the tax collectors, the prostitutes" and "that's the way this pope is."

---

7:50 a.m.

An elaborate welcoming ceremony full of American pomp and pageantry awaits Pope Francis when he goes to the White House.

The pope is scheduled to arrive by motorcade at about 9 a.m., his car pulling slowly up the South Lawn driveway to a red carpet, where President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, will be waiting to greet him.

In front of an estimated 15,000 people who were invited by the White House to witness the historic moment, Obama will then lead Francis to a dais decked out with even more red carpet and red, white and blue bunting, and ringed by military color guards. The Vatican and American national anthems will play. Obama will deliver a welcome address to the pope, followed by the pope's address.

Francis will also receive a thunderous 21-gun salute.

---

7:05 a.m.

The morning light is just hitting the streets surrounding the National Mall in Washington, and already there's a buzz of pope-related activity.

People hoping to catch a glimpse of Pope Francis during a late morning parade are lining up for a coveted spot along the route.

Police and the Secret Service are enforcing road closures in the area and directing foot traffic.

The parade is the only nonticketed event during the pope's visit to the capital, and a big crowd is expected.

---

6:30 a.m.

As a head of state, Pope Francis officially is in the U.S. on what's known as a "state visit."

But the formal ceremony Wednesday morning on the White House South Lawn will be slightly different from most state arrival ceremonies.

For one thing, President Barack Obama and Francis will not review the troops, as presidents do with other visiting leaders. That's because the pontiff controls no armed forces.

Nor will Francis return to the White House in the evening as the guest at a lavish state dinner, one of the highlights of most state visits.

That's largely because of Francis' busy schedule.

The pope is spending the rest of the day with Roman Catholic bishops and other church officials and celebrating Mass at Catholic University.

Sep 23, 10:01 AM EDTAP

 
 

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