pope francis

Boehner: 'God Had Another Plan' for Ryan

Ryan addresses the House. (Tom Williams, CQ Roll Call)

Paul D. Ryan said he took the job he didn't want, speaker of the House, out of an obligation to help unify a fractured Republican Conference.  

The Wisconsin lawmaker's immediate predecessor, John A. Boehner, said Sunday there was another compelling factor at play: God. "You have no choice, this isn't about what you want to do, this is about what God wants you to do, and God told me he wants you to do this," Boehner said he told Ryan a few weeks ago and recounted in an interview with CNN's Dana Bash that aired on the "State of the Union" program.  

As Pope Speaks to Congress, Watch Boehner, Biden

Pope Francis and Obama share a moment Wednesday at the White House (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Pomp, circumstance, a pope and politics will collide Thursday morning.  

When Pope Francis speaks to the Congress in the House chamber, the faces of the two Catholics seated immediately behind him will tell the tale of his appeal.

Boehner Invites Friends, Old and Young, to Papal Address

Boehner is the House's top-ranking Catholic. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Speaker John A. Boehner has invited an eclectic group of guests to watch Pope Francis' address to Congress from the House chamber and the West Lawn Thursday.  

The Ohio Republican can't help but be scrutinized for his selections which are, as with every event of this nature, inherently political. But for the pope's visit, the Catholic speaker is by and large playing it safe, picking people from his past and those who represent more feel-good causes, as opposed to those who might incite controversy.  

After Wednesday, California Will Have Its Own Saint in Capitol

The statue of Junípero Serra overlooks members of Congress and the media in Statuary Hall. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Battles over historic symbols can get heated, as Congress learned this summer in the Confederate battle flag fight . But a little controversy isn't stopping Pope Francis from weighing in on the debate over one of California's key historical figures — a frontier-era priest whose statue is prominently displayed in the U.S. Capitol.  

On Wednesday, the pope will canonize Junípero Serra, a Franciscan priest — revered by Catholics and reviled by some Native Americans —  who founded nine of the state's 21 missions in the 1700s and brought Catholicism to the new world. To supporters — including the pope — he's a saint, despite the church's subjugation at the time of California's native peoples. Some historians say it's unfair to judge Serra through the lens of modern morals and standards. When indigenous tribes were viewed as subhuman by Spanish settlers, Serra saw their "intrinsic dignity," said one supporter.  

The Congressional Wish List for the Pope's Speech

(Vincenzo Pinto/AFP/Getty Images File Photo)

Every lawmaker on Capitol Hill has a cause that could use a boost from a powerful person's endorsement — and next week there won't be a more influential seal of approval than one from Pope Francis.  

Since taking on the papacy in March 2013, the leader of the world's largest church has shown a willingness to wade into some of the thorniest political debates around the globe, from economic equality to climate change to immigration.  

Poll: Pope Influences Politics, Policy Among U.S. Catholics

Pope Francis blesses a boy as arrives in Saint Peter's square for his weekly audience at the Vatican on September 2. (Vincenzo Pinto/AFP/Getty Images)

UPDATE: 11:40 a.m. | Support for Pope Francis' message and the direction in which he is leading the church among American Catholic voters — especially Latinos — should make everyone "pause for a moment of awe," an expert said of poll results released Wednesday.  

The survey — from Faith In Public Life and The Catholic University of America in advance of Francis' first visit to the U.S. next week — found that Latino Catholic voters are the most responsive to the pope's messages that the government should do more to reduce the gap between the rich and poor, as well as a bigger government that provides more services.