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Welcoming Pope Benedict Xvi

(Mr. GINGREY asked and was given permission to address the House for

Rep. Phil Gingrey

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Madam Speaker, I rise today to welcome Pope Benedict XVI to our Nation's Capital as part of his official papal visit to the United States. During this 6-day trip to Washington, D.C. and New York City, the Holy Father, who serves as a wondrous example of faith and leadership, will help Catholics and all Christians renew their faith by delivering mass to tens of thousands of people.

I was honored to have the opportunity to attend mass with the Holy Father at the new Nationals Stadium here in D.C. this morning. And, Madam Speaker, it was truly a blessed event.

Despite his relatively short tenure, Pope Benedict XVI has emerged as a vocal and effective leader for Catholics throughout the world. Over the past 3 years, His Holiness has stressed the need for a return to fundamental Christian values in response to what many see as the world's sloping trend toward secularism.

As Pope, he has focused on the importance and sanctity of human life, especially the life of the unborn, an issue that's very important to me, both as a member of the Catholic Church and as a Member of Congress. But every American, regardless of party affiliation or religious belief can find hope in his message of freedom and justice for all people.

Madam Speaker, as a member of St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Marietta, Georgia, I humbly welcome Pope Benedict XVI to the United States as he continues to spread his message of faith, love and service in Christ.