MIAMI (CBSMiami) — As Pope Francis stood in front of Congress, he called for various things, among them unity, a message that has stayed with some South Florida leaders.
The pope was greeted by a standing ovation as he walked into the Capitol’s House Chamber Thursday morning, among them was Republican presidential hopeful Marco Rubio.
The Florida senator said the sight of the pontiff moved him.
“I was moved by the Pope’s message and by the sight of him standing in front of the U.S. flag with the words ‘In God We Trust’ engraved in the wall behind him,” said Rubio.
For Rubio, the message of unity was quite clear.
“At a time when so many of our people are gripped with uncertainty about the future, the Pope reminded us that America has a special calling as a nation that is guided by high ideals and the moral aims to build a more perfect union and to make the world a better place. He reminded us that, whatever our policy differences might be, we are all called to put the good of our people above all,” said Rubio.
The pope’s call to come together also resonated with Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
In a written statement, she said in part, “I believe his messages of social and economic justice, environmental stewardship, and compassion for immigrants and refugees resonate with all Americans regardless of their political stripes or their faith background.”
But for her, it was the message of legacy and what they can do to help others that stuck with her.
“In particular, I was very moved when he said ‘if we want security, let us give security; if we want life, let us give life; if we want opportunities, let us provide opportunities. The yardstick we use for others will be the yardstick which time will use for us,'” she said.
For Florida Senator Bill Nelson, the message of doings things for the common good above party politics left an impression on him.
Following the pope’s address the senator released a statement saying, “I hope the pope made a lasting impression on the members of Congress. He emphasized that we, as elected officials, are the face of the American people. As such, we need to get more things done for the common good and less polarization.”
Click here for complete coverage of the pope’s visit.