PA-Sen: Casey Previews Pope Visit on MSNBC (VIDEO)

America’s “Pope Fever” is at an all-time high as Pope Francis takes to the streets of Washington, D.C., New York City and Philadelphia this week.

News coverage of the historic visit has been ’round the clock, with political pundits discussing the magnitude of the trip and debating Pope Francis’ address before a joint session of Congress.

Sen. Bob Casey appeared Wednesday night on MSNBC’s Hardball, where host Chris Matthews likened his track record in the Senate – and his father’s as PA Governor – to the Pope’s liberal-leaning message.

“I think I heard every word as if coming out of the mouth of a Casey,” Matthews said. “I thought this was pure, progressive Catholicism.”

The Pope’s two-and-a-half year reign has been enlightening and inspiring, Casey said, as he turns the Catholic Church’s attention to some of the overshadowed corners of society.

“It’s really an inspiration to hear that message from the Holy Father, to be able to focus on such central issues like climate change, wages, and lifting up the poor,” Casey said.

Casey said he expects Pope Francis to “gently, if not aggressively” challenge both parties during his speech. The senior Senator from PA urged his congressional colleagues to show great decorum during the pontiff’s speech, and not to treat it like a State of the Union address.

“No one should be standing up and treating it like a pep rally,” Casey said. “It should have the dignity and the decorum that any faith leader should be accorded in that circumstance.”

Matthews brought up the controversy of religious exemptions, with Casey saying exemptions for religious institutions should match the tax code, where they have always been recognized. The government needs to differentiate, however, between religious institutions and “institutions that have a connection but provide a service to wider public,” Casey said.

Casey warned Republicans about forging ahead with plans to shut down the federal government over Planned Parenthood funding, as the last shutdown in 2013 over the Affordable Care Act hurt the country, as well as hurting the GOP in the polls.

“I think they should rethink that strategy if that’s the way they’re going,” Casey said. “But I hope their leadership gives meaning and value and integrity to what they promise, which is ‘no more shutdowns.'”

3 Responses

  1. Calling Casey an empty suit is an understatement. I am a lifelong Democrat who has twice written in Chuck Pennacchio rather than vote for Casey.

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