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  1. "We must not be taken aback by their numbers, but rather view them as persons," Pope Francis says of immigrants
  2. The Pope stresses protecting "life at all stages" and the importance of traditional families
  3. He receives a warm welcome in Congress with several standing ovations
  4. Americans Dorothy Day, Thomas Merton, Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr singled out in speech
  5. Thousands of spectators watched his address from the West Lawn of Capitol Hill

Live Reporting

By Paul Blake, Ashley Gold and Tim Swift

All times stated are UK

Goodbye for now

The Pope waves goodbye in front of the Capitol
Getty Images
The Pope waves goodbye in front of the Capitol

That wraps up today's live coverage of the #PopeInDC. Stayed tuned as we keep track of the rest of his trip to the US.

Specific abortion mention left out

Some conservatives are upset Pope Francis did not mention abortion specifically.

"Yesterday, Pope Francis said that promoting life and family were the major reason he came to America this week. Yet, disappointingly, the pope did not mention abortion by name in his address to Congress," said John-Henry Westen, the editor-in-chief of LifeSiteNews, a conservative Catholic website. Read more at the Huffington Post: Link

And more from The Daily Caller:

Pope Francis Leaves The Word ‘Abortion’ Out Of Speech To Congress

Pope Francis Leaves The Word ‘Abortion’ Out Of Speech To Congress

Bipartisan love

The Pope's message resonated with both Democrats and Republicans.

The Pope addressed us not as Republicans or Democrats, but as people & public servants w/ a responsibility to make the world a better place.

Grateful for the inspiring words of @pontifex. People of good will must work together to advance the common good.…

No matter your faith, @Pontifex's message of humility, compassion & respect for humanity resonates. #PopeInDC #PopeInUS

.@Pontifex's message was hopeful & his example inspiring. Congress should always remember what we do here is more important than who we are.

Responses roll in

Too conservative? Too liberal? Media reactions roll in:

33 occasions of applause during the Pope's address to Congress. @CBSNews

Pope delivers strong message to protect life and family, but this is what the left hears:…

Sure, the Pope had one (!) line about abortion, but he said much more about climate change, poverty, immigration, Iran/Cuba, social justice.

Thunderous applause as Pope drives through DC

Thousands lining the streets cheer for Pope Francis as his Fiat makes its way to his next stop to meet with the homeless.

@WNEW Pope passes along Pennsylvania Ave. #popeindc

@WNEW Pope passes along Pennsylvania Ave. #popeindc

Pope has arrived at St. Patricks Cathedral in Washington, DC where he'll meet with homeless people #CNN

'Thank you very much and God Bless America'

After addressing the crowd from the balcony off of John Boehner's office, Pope Francis warmly smiles and exits.

#PopeFrancis delivers benediction from Capitol balcony to thousands of people.

#PopeFrancis delivers benediction from Capitol balcony to thousands of people.

Boehner tears up ... again

.@SpeakerBoehner cannot hold back tears, something he will say makes him uncomfortable, but the emotion is real #PopeInDC

Boehner really losing it right now. Why? Obviously the moment but also, the Pope mentioned kids which gets him going every time.

What's next for the Pope today?

Pope Francis greets massive crowd outside U.S. Capitol. #PopeInDC Live:

Pope Francis greets massive crowd outside U.S. Capitol. #PopeInDC Live:

Crowd chanting "CONTIGO!" @Pontifex, we're with you!

The crowd outside of the Capitol continues to cheer for Pope Francis as he emerges and waves on the balcony. 

Next, he will visit St Patrick’s Catholic Church in DC and have lunch with homeless people at the Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington.

Pope goes through Statuary Hall

Photo bulbs snap away as Pope Francis stands in front of the new statue of Junipero Serra, flanked by Joe Biden and John Boehner.

#PopeFrancis is making his way through Statuary Hall in the Capitol #PopeInDC #PopeInUSA
#PopeFrancis is making his way through Statuary Hall in the Capitol #PopeInDC #PopeInUSA

#PopeFrancis is making his way through Statuary Hall in the Capitol #PopeInDC #PopeInUSA

Pope Francis leaves the chamber

Pope Francis wrapped up his speech by evoking the four Americans mentioned before, urging Congress to live up to their ideals.

"God bless America!"

Pope concludes address to Congress: "God bless America" #PopeInDC

Pope concludes address to Congress: "God bless America" #PopeInDC

'Family threatened as never before'

Pope Francis said he thinks the family is being threatened more than ever before, alluding to same-sex marriage.

Pope Francis says the family "is threatened perhaps as never before" and "called into question," a clear reference to same-sex marriage.

Several Republicans highlighted his words on Twitter:

"How essential the family has been to the building of this country." #PopeInDC

"I can only reiterate the importance and, above all, the richness and the beauty of family life." #PopeInDC

Pope touches on guns

"Why are deadly weapons being sold to those who plan to inflict untold suffering on individuals and society?" asks Pope Francis. 

Telling Congress it has a responsibility to stop the arms trade might be the most radical thing #PopeFrancis said in his address today.

"money that is drenched in blood, often innocent blood. ... it is our duty to confront the problem & to stop the arms trade." #PopeFrancis

Hearing the Pope loud and clear

Pope Francis' message about climate change was fairly brief, but undeniable.

Climate change - and humans' role - draws most divided reax so far. Dems stand to cheer. Only some Rs do - and then reluctantly #PopeInDC

Climate change deniers in Congress would need impenetrable earmuffs to ignore @Pontifex's strong call to action on #climatechange. #PopeInDC

Conservatives embrace pro-life message

The Pope's reference to abortion was noticed by Republicans.

#PopeFrancis: "protect & defend human life at every stage of its development" #PopeInDC #PopeInUS #ProLife

" protect human life, at every stage of its development...every life is sacred" #PopeInDC #prolife

'Environmental challenge...concern and affect us all'

Francis close up
US Pool

Pope Francis says we need an inclusive conversation about the environment. Applause was measured at first but grew larger as he continued on.

Biden in the spotlight

The vice-president is currently considering a run for the presidency. 

Lots of presidential contenders in Capitol - Rubio, Cruz, Paul, Sanders. Only one gets in every shot of Pope speech

Lots of presidential contenders in Capitol - Rubio, Cruz, Paul, Sanders. Only one gets in every shot of Pope speech

Biden claps, Boehner literally twiddled thumbs as @pontifex calls for "global abolition" of the death penalty. #PopeinDC

'Every life is sacred'

Touching on what some people thought may be abortion, Pope Francis says that the Golden Rule "reminds us of our responsibility to protect and defend human life at every stage of its development."

Then he said he believes in the global abolition of the death penalty.

Congress gives standing ovation as Pope Francis talks
US Pool
Congress gives standing ovation as Pope Francis talks

#PopeFrancis shocked a lot of people there. Talked about protecting life at all stages, then jumped into death penalty. Abortion not said

View more on twitter

More on Thomas Merton

Thomas Merton

From Wikipedia: Thomas Merton was an American Catholic writer. A Trappist monk of the Abbey of Gethsemani, Kentucky, he was a poet, social activist, and student of comparative religion. 

'Most of us were once foreigners'

Pope Francis speaking

Pope Francis get raucous applause when he says that we must not be fearful of foreigners because most of us were once foreigners.

More on Dorothy Day

Dorothy Day

From Wikipedia: Dorothy Day was an American journalist, social activist, Christian socialist and devout Catholic convert. In the 1930s, Day worked closely with fellow activist Peter Maurin to establish the Catholic Worker Movement, a pacifist movement that continues to combine direct aid for the poor and homeless with nonviolent direct action on their behalf. 

Political pageantry

If the interior of the House Chamber looks like a State of the Union Address, the Capitol's exterior looks like a presidential inauguration as reports say large crowds are cheering the pontiff and his address at several points.

Large crowds outside the Capitol for Pope Francis
US Pool

It is more complicated than good and evil

Pope Francis seen from a side angle
US Pool

Pope Francis says, "There is another temptation which we must especially guard against: the simplistic reduction-ism which sees only good or evil; or, if you will, the righteous and sinners."

"To imitate the hatred and violence of tyrants and murderers is the best way to take their place."

Four Americans get shout out from Pope Francis

Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton are the four Americans Pope Francis wishes to highlight today.

Congress as seen from behind Pope Francis
US Pool

Dorothy Day: founded Catholic Worker Movement, aided poor, advocated social justice #PopeinUS #PopeFrancis

Reaching out to young and old

Pope Francis said he wants to dialogue with the elderly and young people alike. Young people often face difficult situations due to "immaturity on the part of many adults," he said.

Pope Francis speaking in front of the leaders
US Pool

Some Catholic justices MIA

Some have noticed that Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia and Samuel Alito - all Catholics - skipped the Pope's address.

Shocked that Scalia and Alito did not come. Seriously?

An emotional House speaker

John Boehner is famous in Washington for occasionally shedding some tears.

Peak @SpeakerBoehner tears right now for @Pontifex

View more on twitter

The pope begins

Rapturous applause as the Pope opens with "I am most grateful for your invitation to address this Joint Session of Congress in 'the land of the free and the home of the brave'."

Pope Francis arrives

Pope Francis has arrived to the joint session of Congress to thunderous applause. He smiled as he walked in, stopping to shake John Kerry's hand.

View more on twitter
Pope Francis arrives
US Pool
Pope Francis arrives
US Pool
Pope Francis arrives
US Pool

Supreme Court justices, presidential cabinet arriving

US Pool

Several Supreme Court justices and President Obama's cabinet have arrived for the Pope's address. Their presence gives the event a heightened importance, like the president's annual State of the Union address.

This joint session of Congress is like the SOTU address. #PopeInDC

Joint meeting is being called to order

Speaker John Boehner is calling the meeting of Congress to order.

Wide angle of the chamber
US Pool

Biden enters chamber

Joe Biden is the first Catholic to serve as vice-president.

Biden shaking hands as he enters chamber
US Pool

Junipero Serra is in the building

Catholic News Agency reporter Elise Harris tweets a photo of the statue of newly canonised Junipero Serra inside DC's National Statuary Hall.

A peak inside National Statuary Hall in DC - on right holding up a cross is newly canonized #juniperoserra #PopeInDC

A peak inside National Statuary Hall in DC - on right holding up a cross is newly canonized #juniperoserra #PopeInDC

Crowds gather

Crowd holding a sign that reads "USA [heart] Pope Francis"
US Pool
Someone in the crowd is holding a "USA ❤️‍ Pope Francis"

As members of congress, dignitaries and other senior members of the US government gather inside the Capitol building anxiously awaiting the pontiff's speech, large crowds have gathered around the building to watch the address live on jumbo television screens.

A woman holding a child
US Pool
Large crowds
US Pool

Francis fanboy

For a little Catholic boy like me, this is big stuff

John BoehnerHouse Speaker
View more on twitter

The Pope and the speaker

Francis meets House Speaker John Boehner

Pope Francis has met with Speaker of the US House of Representatives John Boehner, a Catholic and the man who invited the pontiff to speak before both chambers of the US Congress.

Pope and John Boehner
US Pool
View more on twitter

Pope arrives at the Capitol

After 20 minutes driving through the streets of Washington, the pontiff has arrived on Capitol Hill.

The Pope rode in a modest Fiat hatchback that was surrounded by a cadre of security vehicles.

For the second day, several thoroughfares in Washington have been cleared of traffic for Pope Francis' exclusive use - just one element of a massive security operation.

View more on twitter

John Boehner is fidgeting like a nervous schoolboy waiting for the Pope. Very charming.

Pope on the move

"El papa" as many of the US's Hispanic people call him has exited the Apostolic Nunciature - the Holy See's diplomatic mission where the Pope has been spending his evenings. 

He took time to greet well-wishers and school children who had assembled along temporary barricades. Several flags for the pontiff's native Argentina could be seen waving among the people.

"I got a selfie!" one child was heard cheering in the crowd.

Pope exits Apostolic Nunciature
US Pool
Pope greets schoolchildren
US Pool

Hello and welcome

Striking low-wage contract workers from the US Capitol pray outside the Capitol in Washington, DC, on September 22, 2015 after an interfaith service ahead of the arrival of Pope Francis for a six-day visit to the US.

Hello and welcome to the BBC's live coverage of Pope Francis' address to a joint session of the US Congress.

For the next few hours we'll be bringing you live updates of the pontiff's speech with analysis from our team in Washington, as well as reaction from the global community.

The ceremony with all its pageantry plus the main event will be kicking off over the next few minutes.