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Chicagoans Impressed With Pope's Speech To Congress

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Many Chicagoans who could not be at the U.S. Capitol to see Pope Francis in person on Thursday as he spoke to a joint session of Congress were glued to their television sets as he became the first pontiff in history to address a joint meeting at the U.S. Capitol.

The pope touched on a wide variety of topics; from the migration crisis in Europe and the United States' own struggle with immigration from Latin America to the death penalty, climate change, poverty, and combating the arms trade.

Given an ovation when he spoke of the Golden Rule, he said, "Let us treat others with the same passion and compassion with which we want to be treated."

About 60 people watched the pope's speech on a projection screen inside a building next to Old St. Patrick's Church. People listened intently to the pontiff's religious – yet sometimes political – speech.

Fr. Tom Hurley, the pastor of Old St. Pat's, said he was inspired by the pope's words.

"When he mentioned the Golden Rule, before he could even get it out, everyone was standing in the chambers, and I know the people with whom we were viewing the speech today, all of us reacted as well," he said. "I thought what was most inspirational about the pope's message today is that he really reached into our own history; as he reached into the history of Abraham Lincoln, and Martin Luther King, and Dorothy Day, and Thomas Merton; all these great inspirational Americans who taught us a lot about justice, taught us a lot about liberty, taught us a lot about being those who dialogue. We have a great capacity, he said."


Hurley and others in the crowd at Old St. Pat's emphasized the pope's message about protecting the planet.

For them, it was all about being together for the big day.

"It's great to see a room full of people. It's the next best thing to being there; don't have to fight the crowds, and they're all interested to hear what he has to say," parishioner Margie Perzynski said.

Hurley said, if there was one thing for Americans and Catholics to take away from the pope's speech, it would be to ask themselves "how do we care for one another?"

"I think that to me was the takeaway – is how do we care for one another? How do we not leave each other behind, but rather how do we care for one another, care for not only the Earth, but more importantly, how do we care for the least among us?" he said. "That, to me, was I thought the most powerful part of the message."

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