Following the controversy sparked by his invitation to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address the US Congress, US House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner entered calmer waters Thursday with his announcement that Pope Francis will address a joint session of the Congress on September 24. This will mark the first time a pope has delivered such a speech.
The pope is expected to visit Washington, New York and Philadelphia during his trip to the United States. After the trip was announced last year, Boehner said that he had invited the head of the Roman Catholic Church to speak to lawmakers.
"On Sept. 24 His Holiness Pope Francis will visit us here at the United States Capitol. That day, His Holiness will be the first pope in our history to address a joint session of Congress," Boehner told reporters during his weekly press conference.
Boehner's previous invitation, to Netanyahu, angered the White House, which is upset about the event coming two weeks before Israeli elections and the fact that Netanyahu, who has a testy relationship with US President Barack Obama, is expected to be critical of US policy on Iran.
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