The ever-popular Pope Francis received a rock-star welcome in the United States recently, doing what he usually does: challenging entrenched opinions and blithely crossing political lines which seemed impassable.  It was in Philadelphia, where his focus was the needs and pastoral care of the family, where he was at his most charming and endearing.

In his musically accented Spanish, he went happily off-script during one of his speeches, clearly energized by the enthusiasm of the thousands of exuberant faithful. A large percentage of them were Latino, which was obvious from their delighted appreciation of his colloquial, gentle jokes about the normal difficulties that beset all of us: “Y no vamos a hablar de la suegra!”(and let’s not speak about mothers-in-law!)  His topic, the centrality of the family to human development and to society, was obviously close to his heart.

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