Pope Francis: I'm Not A Liberal, My Doctrine Is The Doctrine Of The Church

| by Meg O'Connor
Pope Francis and a crowd of supportersPope Francis and a crowd of supporters

Pope Francis landed on United States soil for the first time yesterday, Sept. 22. Kicking off historic six-day visit, the Pope exited the plane and was greeted by a cheering crowd and by President Barack Obama himself -- an unprecedented welcome for a foreign dignitary. 

During the flight from Cuba to Washington, the Pope spoke with journalists about how media outlets have branded him as a liberal and about what he plans to tell Congress on Thursday, Sept. 24, Time reports.

"Some people might say some things sounded slightly more left-ish, but that would be a mistake of interpretation," Pope Francis said when asked to comment on the many media outlets who have asked if the Pope is liberal. "Maybe I have given an impression of being a little bit to the left. And if necessary, I'll recite the creed. I'm available to do that, eh."

He said that he follows the church, and that is doctrine is "that of the social doctrine of the church."

"I am sure that I have not said anything more than what is in the social doctrine of the church," Pope Francis added.

The Pope's clarification of his viewpoints upon his arrival to the United States is significant, since many in the Democratic Party have attempted to claim Pope Francis as their policy champion in recent months, while Conservatives in Congress have begun to push back against the perception of the Pope as someone who is pushing for a liberal agenda. 

A few months ago, The White House released a memo which outlined topics of shared interest that President Obama will discuss with Pope Francis, including climate change and immigration.

During his plane ride to the U.S., Pope Francis also briefly mentioned his plans to speak to Congress about "bilateral relations and multinational relations as a sign of progress and coexistence." 

When asked whether he planned to discuss the Cuba embargo, the Pope responded, "I am almost sure that embargo is not mentioned in the speech…No, no, certain it is not."

Pope Francis, who has called life-sentences "a hidden death penalty," will be visiting Philadelphia's largest jail on Sept. 27 to meet with prisoners and their families.

Sources: Time, Washington Post

Photo credit: Wikipedia (2)