Pope Francis presented himself to Congress on Thursday as a "uniter" who sought to bring together "some things that have been dear to his heart that haven't been addressed as much," Father Dan Moloney told Newsmax TV.
"One of the things he kept hitting on was this notion that we need to overcome divisions in society and create a society where we talk to each other and respect each other and dialogue with each other," Moloney, chaplain at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said on "Newsmax Prime."
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He was interviewed by hosts J.D. Hayworth and Miranda Khan.
"He used the word 'dialogue' a bunch of times," Moloney said. "He said he didn't want us to talk about where everything you did good or evil, sinful or not. Try to take away some of these polarizing issues and reframe them as issues of concern that we all have to have as part of coming from our heart. There's a way to approach that he was trying to get to.
"I don't know that he was as effective, but if you come out and say, 'You must pass the bill that defunds Planned Parenthood,' I'm not sure that would've been an appropriate intervention for a pastor into the nature of politics," the Catholic priest added. "We can take what he's told us and then think about it ourselves as Americans and then try to apply it to the circumstances we have before us."
But Wayne Laugesen, editorial page editor for The Colorado Springs Gazette, told Newsmax that Pope Francis wasn't political enough, particularly on the issue of Planned Parenthood.
"He told Congress about the Golden Rule. Part of the Golden Rule is to respect and defend human life at all stages of development — and I thought that was a great thing for them to hear.
"It would be hard to hear that message and then vote to continue funding Planned Parenthood, which is in the business of killing human beings at early stages and trading in body parts. They got the message, hopefully," Laugesen said.
"It was interesting to see that I believe 100 percent of the members of Congress stood up and applauded when he said that," he added. "I don't really understand how you can applaud that and then continue the funding of Planned Parenthood.
"I would like to have seen him speak a little more specifically to that issue."
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