The first ever for Pope Francis visit to the U.S. — The Pope headed for Washington on Tuesday for the first visit of his life to the United States.
The White House says President Barack Obama’s decision to greet Pope Francis personally when he arrives at a U.S. military base just outside Washington is a symbol of the high level of respect that Americans have for the pontiff.
During his six-day, three-city visit to the U.S., the pope will meet with Obama, address Congress, speak at the United Nations in New York and take part in a Vatican-sponsored conference on the family in Philadelphia.
Francis goes to the White House on Wednesday morning. Some 15,000 people have been invited to the arrival ceremony on the South Lawn.
U.S. bishops, meanwhile, expect Francis will issue a strong call for immigration reform, a subject that has heated up with hardline rhetoric from some of the Republican presidential candidates, especially Donald Trump. He has painted Mexican immigrants as criminals and said he would build a wall along the U.S. southern border and force Mexico to pay for it, according to FoxNews report.
Security officials gearing up for Pope Francis’ visit to America have stressed that there is no specific, credible threat against the pontiff — but for the second time in two years an ISIS propaganda magazine has singled him out for scorn.
Francis has denounced ISIS in the past. Last year, he said the violence being committed by Islamic militants was a “profoundly grave sin against God.” In other remarks, he appeared to endorse the use of force to stop ISIS from persecuting religious minorities in Iraq.