Pope Francis visited the United States for the first time at the end of last year, and the effects are still being seen. The Pope visited Washington, D.C., New York and Philadelphia. He delivered prayer services, addressed Congress, addressed the United Nations, and visited the 9/11 Memorial, among other things.
Thanks to the Pope’s large influence, we’ve already seen a few effects from his visit. Those include:
Deepened Debate about Conscientious Objection
Kim Davis was in the news just before the Pope arrived because she was refusing to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples. The Pope met with Davis during his visit and then made a public statement that workers have a “human right” to perform such duties when they conflict with their religious beliefs. His statements deepened the debate about conscientious objection, which is still not over.
Renews Discussion about Abuse Victims
Pope Francis met with abuse victims during his visit, and he later said publicly that he understood if they were unable to forgive their abusers. A group of abuse victims spoke back, saying that his visit did nothing to heal their pain or solve the issue of clergy sex abuse. However, the visit and the comments did renew discussion about this very important issue.
The Pope met with many people during his visit. One family says that after the Pope kissed their baby, her brain tumor shrank. The family said her tumor was “virtually invisible” six weeks after the encounter, even though she had received numerous surgeries and chemotherapy treatments before that with little improvement. Doctors had told her parents she was unlikely to survive, but after the Pope’s kiss, that prognosis changed entirely. The little girl is now expected to live.
Hopefully, in the future, the Pope will visit places farther west, such as Portland or even Austin, TX. We’ll have to wait until more visits are announced to see.