Pope Francis focused his first public catechesis after his trip to Cuba and the United States on what he learned and experienced from his travels.
Arriving on the island as a "missionary of mercy,” the Pope said he wanted to share with the Cuban people "the hope that they can achieve the prophecy of Pope John Paul II”: that Cuba and the world open up to each other.
"Freedom in dignity. This is the way to shake the hearts of so many young Cubans. It is not a way of evasion, of easy winnings, but instead of responsibility, of service to others, and attention to the most fragile people.”
Describing the thaw in relations between the U.S. and Cuba, the Pope said it was a bridge built thanks to God.
"God always wants to build bridges, and we are building walls. But those walls always fall.”
Further, he took the time to praise the United States for its religious identity and for its founding principles. In particular, he spoke of the American belief that God has created all men equal, and that they all have been given inalienable rights.
"It was on this religious and moral foundation that the United States of America was born and grew. And on this base it continues to be a land of freedom and welcome.”
To conclude, the Pope recounted the World Meeting of Families. He said that it is not a coincidence that the most advanced economy in the last century has such strong religious roots. Instead, it's proof that religion and progress are compatible.
"It is not accidental but providential that the message and the testimony from the World Meeting of Families was given in the United States of America. It is the country that has developed the most economically and technologically in the past century, without compromising its religious roots. Now they look to the same roots again from the family to rethink and change the development model for the good of the entire human family.”
In the family, Pope Francis suggested, the individual and society reach a balance. And he declared that the family will be the basis on which progress in the 21st century continues.