Pope Francis has arrived in the US for his first ever visit, marking the start of six days of public and private events in the nation of nearly 70 million Catholics.
The 78-year-old Argentine pontiff was greeted on the tarmac by President Barack Obama, his family and Vice President Joe Biden, on Wednesday morning (AEST).
His schedule will include a visit to Washington, D.C., New York and Philadelphia.
The tour will take him into underprivileged communities, as well as though walls of power, attending a meeting at the Oval Office in the White House and making landmark speeches to Congress and the UN General Assembly.
As the pope stepped onto the red carpet on Tuesday he was greeted by cheers of “welcome to the USA,” the Wall Street Journal reported.
According to a recent poll, 70 per cent of Americans and 80 per cent of Cubans approved of the Pope.
But for some, the dominant themes of the Pope’s papacy – concern for the poor, his strong stance in favour of action on global warming and his critique of consumerism – could be read as an indictment of the American way of life.
That was underlined ahead of his trip when Republican Congressman Paul Dasher, who is Catholic, declared he would boycott the pontiff’s historic address to Congress to protest his “leftist” views.
The Pope arrived to the US after a short stint in Cuba.
According to The Wall Street Journal, he urged the US and Cuba to mend relations — a key priority of President Obama.
– with AAP
Praise the Lard, Pope’s in town. A brief break from the 24/7 coverage of the donald.
— Abused Gray Matter (@abusedgrymatter) September 22, 2015
forever laughing at how i thought some old guy walkinh outside the school was the pope
— katie hemler (@katiehempler) September 22, 2015
Are there any other Catholics out there who are having a hard time getting excited about the Pope’s visit? — Wyoming Patriot (@Beholden2None) September 22, 2015