Catholic lawmakers thrilled by upcoming visit of Francis

Pope Francis
Pope Francis delivers his speech from the window of his studio overlooking St. Peter's square during the Regina Coeli midday prayer, at the Vatican, Sunday, April 19, 2015. Referring to a boat crowded with migrants capsized in the sea north of Libya, Francis said:"There are fears there could be hundreds of dead", then he bowed his head in silent prayer as did many of the tens of thousands in the crowd. (AP Photo)

WASHINGTON (AP) – House Speaker John Boehner has been trying for 20 years to get a pope to come talk to Congress.

Now it’s finally happening.

And House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi says it’s “thrilling beyond words.”

This week’s historic address by Pope Francis to a joint meeting of Congress has lawmakers of all political affiliations and religious backgrounds buzzing.

For the many Catholic lawmakers on Capitol Hill, it’s an occasion of special significance, even as they brace for the unconventional pontiff to make both parties squirm with his focus on hot-button political and social issues.

Many lawmakers hope the leader of the globe’s 1.2 billion Catholics will provoke members of Congress to pause, reflect and refrain, if only temporarily, from partisan struggles and political bickering

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