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Pope Discusses Climate Change, Religious Liberty In Address

WASHINGTON D.C. (WJZ) -- A large crowd greets Pope Francis at the Vatican's Diplomatic Mission in Washington D.C. where he spent the night.

Vic Carter reports for WJZ.

A joyous crowd welcomed Pope Francis to the White House Wednesday morning during his first official visit to the US. Speaking in English, the Argentinian-born Francis said he was grateful for the warm reception.

"As the son of an immigrant family, I am happy to be a guest in this country, which was largely built by such families," the Pope said.

His remarks went beyond pleasantries to address America's improving relations with Cuba. He also called for Americans to protest unjust discrimination and to protect religious liberty, but the centerpiece of his speech was dedicated to climate change.

"Mr. President, I find it encouraging that you are proposing an initiative for reducing air pollution," he said.

READ: What You Need To Know About The Pope's Visit To DC | LIVE BLOG | More Pope News

President Barack Obama said Pope Francis set a profound moral example.

"You shake our conscience from slumber and give us confidence that we can come together in humility and service and pursue a world that is more loving, more just and more free," Obama said.

Among the crowd to see the Pope was Bob Masse, who brought his family from Salt Lake City.

"Chances are he probably won't come out that way so this is really, spiritually, a chance of a lifetime," he said.

The Pope stopped to bless several children during Wednesday morning's parade.

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