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WASHINGTON, D.C., September 23, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) — In his address to the Bishops of the United States in Washington, D.C.'s St. Matthew’s Cathedral this afternoon, Pope Francis listed the “challenging issues of our time,” which included:

  • the innocent victim of abortion
  • children who die of hunger or from bombings
  • immigrants who drown in the search for a better tomorrow
  • the elderly or the sick who are considered a burden
  • the victims of terrorism, wars, violence and drug trafficking
  • the environment devastated by man’s predatory relationship with nature
  • and the Gospel of the Family.

“These essential aspects of the Church’s mission belong to the core of what we have received from the Lord,” said the pope. “It is our duty to preserve and communicate them, even when the tenor of the times becomes resistant and even hostile to that message.”

“I appreciate the unfailing commitment of the Church in America to the cause of life and that of the family, which is the primary reason for my present visit.” 

At the outset of his speech, the Holy Father thanked the US Bishops for their generosity to the Vatican, for their work in immigration, education, and charity. Addressing life and family he said, “I appreciate the unfailing commitment of the Church in America to the cause of life and that of the family, which is the primary reason for my present visit.” 

He also noted the pain of the sex abuse crisis and thanked the bishops for attending to the healing of victims and ensuring the “crimes” would never be repeated.

“It is not my intention to offer a plan or to devise a strategy,” said the Pope.  “I have not come to judge you or to lecture you.”

He urged the bishops to “dialogue” as their method, to “dialogue fearlessly” but warning them against “harsh and divisive language” which “does not befit the tongue of a pastor.”

The Pope also stressed the need for unity. “Our mission as bishops is first and foremost to solidify unity, a unity whose content is defined by the Word of God and the one Bread of Heaven.”

In closing the Pope made a personal plea for immigrants, especially those from Latin America.

See the Pope’s full address on Vatican Radio here.

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