Pope Francis’ Abraham Lincoln Connection

As Pope Francis spoke outside Philadelphia's Independence Hall Saturday, he stood at the same lectern that President Abraham Lincoln used to deliver the Gettysburg Address.

The pope's talk centered on immigration and religious freedom outside Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence was adopted on July 4, 1776. And at the end of the speech, he referenced that declaration, using words taken directly from it.

"Do not forget what happened here more than two centuries ago," Pope Francis said. "Do not forget that declaration that proclaimed that all men and women are created equal. That they are endowed by their creator a certain inalienable rights and that governments exist to protect and defend these rights."

Last month, conservators removed the lectern from its display space at The Union League of Philadelphia to prepare it for the pontiff's speech.

Its loan for the pope's use was announced by the Vatican-sponsored World Meeting of Families, which the pope is attending this weekend.

AP

Lincoln used the lectern on Nov. 19, 1863, to dedicate part of the Civil War battlefield at Gettysburg as a cemetery.

His two-minute address became one of the most famous speeches in American history. It ended with Lincoln's resolution that "this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

The lectern's "simple beauty and humble role in one of American history's most important moments reflects, in many ways, Pope Francis' own world view," said Robert Ciaruffoli, president of the World Meeting of Families.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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