"Our common home has been part of this group of the excluded which cries out to heaven and which today powerfully strikes our homes, our cities and our societies ... To use a telling phrase of the Rev. Martin Luther King, we can say that we have defaulted on a promissory
note and now is the time to honor it., " Pope Francis said, referring to Rev. Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech of 1963.
He was addressing the complicated and controversial history of racial relations and immigration in the U.S. To undeline his point, he evoked his own immigrant roots to draw a common thread between the tales of immigrants making their way to the U.S.
The story of his Italian parents who emigrated to Argentina where he was born in 1936, appeared to parallel that of President Obama, whose Kenyan father met the mother in the United States.
Pope Francis said: "As the son of an immigrant family, I am happy to be a guest in this country, which was largely built by such families."
President Obama chose to focus on the insprational figure of Pope Francis. "Your message of love and hope has inspired so many people, across our nation and around the world," President Obama said. "You remind us of the costs of war -- particularly on the powerless and defenseless."