As of Wednesday, Pope Francis is on the second day of his six-day visit to the United States. Upon his arrival in Washington, D.C. Tuesday, the Pope was greeted by President and First Lady Obama, as well as Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill Biden. Francis has several events scheduled in D.C. before he heads to his next stop in New York, including an address to Congress. According to his official itinerary, the Pope will speak to a joint session of the House and Senate at 10 a.m. Thursday. This will be the first time a Pope has ever addressed Congress, and Francis will have many Catholics in the audience. Many members of the U.S. government are Catholic, including Supreme Court Justices and members of both houses of Congress.
While 22 percent of Americans identify as Catholic, the number is greater than that in both the judicial and legislative bodies in the U.S. government. Although identifying as Catholic of course does not necessarily mean that these politicians are devout, it can at least still be seen as some indicator of their guiding ethical principles, and it's a significant statistic for us to be aware of. Here are a few members of the U.S. government who identify as Catholic.
The Supreme Court
Six of the nine Supreme Court Justices are Catholic: Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy, John Roberts, Antonin Scalia, Sonia Sotomayor and Clarence Thomas.
There are 26 Catholic members of the Senate. Forty-two percent of the Catholic senators are Republican, while the remaining 58 percent are Democrats. Twenty-two of the 50 states have Catholic senators.
- Lisa Murkowski (R), Alaska
- Dan Sullivan (R), Alaska
- Marco Rubio (R), Florida
- Jim Risch (R), Idaho
- Dick Durbin (D), Illinois
- Joe Donnelly (D), Indiana
- David Vitter (R), Louisiana
- Susan Collins (R), Maine
- Barbara Mikulski (D), Maryland
- Ed Markey (D), Massachusetts
- Claire McCaskill (D), Missouri
- Kelly Ayotte (R), New Hampshire
- Bob Menendez (D), New Jersey
- Kirsten Gillibrand (D), New York
- Thom Tillis (R), North Carolina
- Heidi Heitkamp (D), North Dakota
- John Hoeven (R), North Dakota
- Bob Casey Jr. (D), Pennsylvania
- Pat Toomey (R), Pennsylvania
- Jack Reed (D), Rhode Island
- Mike Rounds (R), South Dakota
- Tim Caine (D), Virginia
- Maria Cantwell (D), Washington
- Patty Murray (D), Washington
- Joe Manchin (D), West Virginia
- Patrick Leahy (D), Vermont
The House Of Representatives
There are 138 Catholic members of the House, comprising 30.7 percent of this chamber of Congress. Catholic representatives include John Delaney (D) of Maryland, Debbie Dingall (D) of Michigan, and Paul Gosar (R) of Arizona, who has said he will be boycotting the Pope's address to Congress.
There are currently 15 candidates running for president, and of those 15, seven are Catholic, making nearly 47 percent of the presidential field Catholic. They are Jeb Bush (R), Chris Christie (R), Bobby Jindal (R), Martin O'Malley (D), George Pataki (R), Marco Rubio (R) and Rick Santorum (R).