2013-03-19 Vatican Radio(Vatican Radio) U.S. Congressman Chris Smith (R-N.J.) says many of his constituents “are ecstatic” about the election of the new Argentinian pontiff. They feel Pope Francis’ election, he says, “is an affirmation for all of the Americas, including North America. We celebrate equally strongly and are happy about this.”
The thirty-three year member of the House of Representatives was leading a delegation of Congressional colleagues to Rome for Tuesday’s installation mass for Pope Francis. He told Tracey McClure that the morning celebration “was a very holy time” and that he and the other U.S. Congressmen were “just several yards away from the Pope.”
“It was just an awe inspiring event, but most importantly, a very holy event,” the Catholic Congressman said.
“The Pope’s homily and his call to protect, invoking Our Lord’s words in Matthew 25 about protecting the least of our brethren, was just an extraordinary rallying call to every one of us to reach out to the disenfranchised and the weakest and most vulnerable – whether it be the unborn child or women who are at risk…in all of our countries.”
“Whatever the situation may be, we have to become protectors. That’s what we’re admonished to do by Our Lord and certainly we heard that today from Pope Francis.”
In this brief interview with Tracey McClure, Congressman Smith illustrates some of the challenges facing Catholics in his own and other countries today and reflects on the role his own faith has played in his life and work.