Under Moses' gaze
· In the halls of Congress ·
The Pope was met with a standing ovation, applause and cheering when he entered the US Congress on Thursday, 23 September. Introduced as “The Pope of the Holy See”, Francis received a warm welcome as the first pope to visit the place.
Indeed the Pope's address was interrupted 36 times due to applause — a sign of the audiences' attention and often, though not always unanimous, agreement – beginning with when he expressed his gratitude for the invitation to address “the land of the free and home of the brave”. As the Pope spoke, thousands of people outside watched on megascreens near the West Wing, which, since Ronald Regan's presidency, has been the site of the presidential inauguration.
According to protocol, the only individual to speak was the Pontiff, who delivered his address in English. Across from him was a medallion of Moses, surrounded by other medallions profiling the country's great legislators. However the figure of Moses is the only one in the hall which directly faces the speaker. Indeed, the Pope referred to the prophet at the beginning of his speech, underlining that the Biblical figure represents the job of politicians to defend man by way of the law.
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