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LISTEN: The Political Implications of Pope Francis' Visit To The U.S.

Pete Souza/White House

Pope Francis on Thursday will become the first pontiff to address a joint session of Congress.

David Buckley, a political science professor at the University of Louisville, recently discussed with WFPL News the political implications of the pope’s visit to the U.S.

Buckley said he doesn’t believe that Francis is out to influence voters, but said the pope will use the opportunity to underscore the church’s position on some major issues.


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"The pope clearly has a public agenda for the church," said Buckley, who studies politics, religion and science. "It is not a partisan agenda, but it is an agenda that touches on a range of public policy issues, from traditional issues associated with the culture wars like abortion and gay marriage — but more broadly, issues touching on climate change and the nature of capitalism in America today.”

The pope is on a three-city tour of the U.S. this week. This is the pontiff's first-ever visit to the U.S.

WFPL News will carry NPR's live coverage of the pope's speech before Congress.  The news special begins at 10 a.m. Thursday and can be heard at 89.3 FM or streamed here. Here's more information.

(Image via Pete Souza/White House)

Rick Howlett was midday host and the host of LPM's weekly talk show, "In Conversation." He was with LPM from 2001-2023 and held many different titles, including Morning Edition host, Assignment Editor and Interim News Director. He died in August 2023. Read a remembrance of Rick here.

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