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The Pope's U.S. Visit Isn't About Politics for Many Catholics

The admiration for the leader of the Roman Catholic Church transcends partisan politics for many who came to cheer him.
People wave and cheer on the parade route for Pope Francis on Sept. 23, 2015, in Washington.

People wave and cheer on the parade route for Pope Francis on Sept. 23, 2015, in Washington.

Photographer: Alex Brandon/AP

Even after Pope Francis and President Obama took turns speaking about climate change and poverty on the White House lawn Wednesday, many in the crowd along the parade route said the politics of the papal visit was of little to no interest to them: “You don't mix water and oil,” said Daniel Paredes, meaning politics and religion.

Paredes, a Peruvian-born 42-year-old consultant from McLean, Virginia, described his own politics as “pro-life,” rather than naming a party. But he also said he sees nothing particularly partisan about the pope's environmental message. Taking care of the planet “is like cleaning your home because you don't want to live in the dirt,” said Paredes, who'd left his own home at 3:30 in the morning and finally caught a glimpse of the pontiff eight hours later. “It's common sense.”