Bishop Clark Reacts To An Historic Moment At The U.S. Capitol
The former leader of the Rochester Catholic Diocese had a special seat for Thursday’s address by Pope Francis to a joint meeting of Congress.
Bishop Emeritus Matthew Clark, was the invited guest of Congresswoman Louise Slaughter, so he got to watch the first time a Pope has addressed a joint meeting of Congress at the U.S. Capitol.
Clark, who retired at Bishop in Rochester in 2012, says he was thrilled by the opportunity, calling it an extraordinary moment.
He told WXXI News that even for those in that chamber who didn't agree with everything the Pope said, it was a special moment.
Bishop Clark likes the fact that Pope Francis challenged U.S. leaders and others to be active in trying to create a better world.
"He’s challenging us to take leadership in the environment, challenging us to take leadership in the sale of weapons to people who are preparing to use them to do in the poor and the oppressed very strong challenges, and I think to take leadership in the world community."
Bishop Clark says he met every pope since 1959, and says he is a great fan of Pope Francis, saying that he has a particularly effective way of relating to the people he meets.
"I do think his two immediate predecessors were brilliant men and in their own ways, very pastoral men. But in my experience, at least in my opinion, Pope Francis has a particularly effective way of relating to the people he meets."
Congresswoman Slaughter (D-Fairport), says that even those in the chamber who didn't agree with everything the pope had to say felt the Pope made a big impression.
"There was enormous respect, and a few tears and the things that he talked about , but even when he was scolding us, he put it with such kindness, knowing that we can do better."
Slaughter was pleased to hear Pope Francis talk about a number of key issues, including climate change, refugees, and the important of helping people earn a living wage.