National Security Delegation Also Met with Religious, Human Rights Leaders
August 8, 2016
Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi last week led a Congressional delegation to Italy and Afghanistan. In addition to national security, the delegation focused on climate change and migration, which involved meetings with religious and human rights leaders.
The delegation attended Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica and met with Archbishop Silvano Tomasi of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, a dicastery of the Roman Curia dedicated to promoting justice, peace and human rights in the world. Archbishop Tomasi was the Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations in Geneva until February, 2016. In their visit, the Members discussed with Archbishop Tomasi the root causes of migration and displaced persons, as well as climate change, food security and human rights abuses. The delegation also highlighted the imperative of global poverty reduction. In remarks delivered to the U.S. Congress last September, Pope Francis told Members they must “avert the most serious effects of the environmental deterioration caused by human activity. I am convinced we can make a difference and I have no doubt that the United States – and this Congress – have an important role to play.”
The delegation had the unique privilege of participating in the observance of the 800th anniversary of the Pardon of St. Francis of Assisi. Delegation Members participated in the official procession for a high Mass at the Papal Basilica of Saint Mary of the Angels. The basilica houses the Porziuncola, which is where Saint Francis founded the Franciscan Order. Pope Francis visited Assisi on August 4th as part of the pilgrimage and spoke at Mass about the importance of forgiveness.
Leader Pelosi and Members were joined by San Franciscans to present Assisi Mayor Stefania Proietti with a proclamation from Mayor Edwin Lee declaring August 2, 2016 as the 800th anniversary of the Pardon of Assisi Day in San Francisco. Assisi is a sister city of San Francisco, a relationship established by Mayor Joseph Alioto.
While in Italy, Leader Pelosi received the Golden Eagle Award, which recognizes leadership on workers’ rights and human rights. In all of the delegation’s meetings, the Members benefited from the commitment to human rights, which is a pillar of U.S. foreign policy.