Pope Francis Blesses the Secular Coalition During Visit to D.C.

Washington, DC – The Secular Coalition for America would like to thank His Holiness Pope Francis for taking the time to issue a blessing to its office and staff. Arriving on Tuesday afternoon, Francis was greeted by the Coalition’s staff and interns who proceeded to give His Holiness a tour of the office.

When sharing what inspired His Holiness to visit and bless the Secular Coalition for America, the Pope explained; “I believe it is important for Catholics, atheists, and people of all faiths to engage in healthy and respectful dialogue. Only by promoting understanding and tolerance can we hope to heal our broken and divided world.” Francis also quipped, “And as I have explained in the past, I fully believe that it is possible for nonbelievers with contrite hearts to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. So, you know, I didn’t want things to be awkward for eternity when we all showed up there.”

The tour included a display of the Coalition’s three “knit-A-brick” walls. The walls are composed of 1,600 bricks knit by Coalition supporters from all over the country as a response to the Supreme Court’s decision in the Hobby Lobby case last June. The walls are meant to symbolically rebuild the wall of separation between church and state.

While impressed by the dedication of the Coalition’s staff in collecting and knitting together so many bricks, His Holiness did inquire about the meaning of the campaign slogan: “Did Hobby Lobby make you want to knit a brick?” The tour then promptly proceeded to other exhibits in the office.

At the conclusion of the tour, the Pope offered some final remarks about his visit. “I am deeply honored to have been invited to offer a blessing to the Secular Coalition for America. While we may have disagreements, we share a common belief in the rights of people of all faiths to believe (or not) and worship (or not) as they see fit. It is improper for the state to compel others to believe or to preference one religion over another. And so, I applaud the Secular Coalition’s hard work and sincere commitments to this cause.” When asked if His Holiness would be willing speak at the Secular Coalition’s upcoming Lobby Day on April 30, he laughed and remarked: “Don’t push it.”

Happy April First!

CONTACT: Kelly Damerow, SCA Interim Executive Director, at [email protected] or (202)299-1091 ext. 207.

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