Ambassador expects pope to challenge Americans to live nation’s ideals

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August 4, 2015

Pope Francis exchanges greetings with Ken Hackett, U.S. ambassador to the Holy See, and his wife, Joan, during a meeting with ambassadors to the Holy See at the Vatican Jan. 13. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) (Jan. 13, 2014) See POPE-DIPLOMATS Jan. 13, 2014.

Pope Francis exchanges greetings with Ken Hackett, U.S. ambassador to the Holy See, and his wife, Joan, during a meeting with ambassadors to the Holy See at the Vatican Jan. 13. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) (Jan. 13, 2014)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The U.S. ambassador to the Holy See believes Pope Francis is not traveling to the United States in September to scold anyone, but to challenge the country’s people to live up to their ideals.

“I don’t think he’s coming to the United States to antagonize, to criticize, to call out people,” Ken Hackett, the ambassador, told Catholic News Service Aug. 4. “I think he’s coming to shore up. But he won’t hesitate from speaking out about some of the issues he feels passionately about.”

Poverty, immigration, climate change, inclusion and respect for human dignity and human life are regularly on the pope’s agenda, he said, and they could be on the nation’s political agenda as it gears up for the 2016 presidential primaries, which begin five months after Pope Francis visits.

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