To mark Pope Francis' historic U.S. visit, The Washington Post's Michelle Boorstein, Rep. Andy Harris, Rep. Loretta Sanchez, MSNBC host Chris Matthews and former Vatican ambassador Francis Rooney discuss the role of religion in politics. (Meena Ganesan/Washington Post Live)

Religion in America | Sept. 21, 2015, 9:15 – 10:30 a.m. ET

To mark Pope Francis’ historic U.S. visit, The Washington Post hosted an in-depth conversation about how the Pontiff is shaping the world’s largest religion and his influence on global politics.

During his trip, Francis was expected to take on controversial topics like immigration, climate change and family issues. On Sept. 21 at the Post, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Rep. Loretta Sanchez, D-Calif., MSNBC host Chris Matthews and former Vatican ambassador Francis Rooney discussed how politics and the Church are evolving.


Highlights:

At The Post's Religion in America event, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbisop of Washington, said "it's hard to sort out what [characteristics of Pope Francis] people are unhappy with." (Meena Ganesan/Washington Post Live)
Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC's "Hardball with Chris Matthews," spoke at The Post's Religion in America event about how Pope Francis is shaping the Church on social issues. (Meena Ganesan/Washington Post Live)
The Washington Post's Carlos Lozada and Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, discuss Pope Francis' historic U.S. visit and how the Pontiff is shaping the world's largest religion. (Meena Ganesan/Washington Post Live)

Agenda:

9:15 am Welcome Remarks
Fred Ryan, Publisher, The Washington Post

The Francis Effect
Who is Pope Francis and how is he changing the world’s largest religion?
Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington
Interviewed by Carlos Lozada, Associate Editor and Nonfiction Book Critic, The Washington Post

Church and State
How the Pontiff is influencing politics and religion’s role in it
Chris Matthews, Host, “Hardball with Chris Matthews,” MSNBC
Hon. Francis Rooney, Former U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See; Chief Executive, Rooney Holdings, Inc.
Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.)
Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.)
Moderated by Michelle Boorstein, Religion Reporter, The Washington Post

Program Ends
Lois Romano, Editor, Washington Post Live

Speakers:

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Cardinal Donald Wuerl
Archbishop of Washington

Cardinal Donald Wuerl is the Archbishop of Washington and was elevated to the College of Cardinals in 2010 by Pope Benedict XVI. He participated in the March 2013 conclave that elected Pope Francis. He is chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, chancellor of Catholic University of America, chairman of the board of the Pope John Paul II Cultural Foundation and also of The Papal Foundation. He serves on the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the Pontifical Council for Culture. Wuerl was ordained a bishop by Pope John Paul II on Jan. 6, 1986, in Saint Peter’s Basilica. He served as Auxiliary Bishop in Seattle until 1987 and then as Bishop of Pittsburgh for 18 years until his appointment to Washington.

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Rep. Andy Harris
(R-Md.)

Rep. Andy Harris of Maryland’s first congressional district was elected to Congress in 2010 and is currently serving his third term.  He’s a physician and is currently serving on the House Appropriations Committee. A devout Catholic, Harris attended Regis High School, a Jesuit school in New York, and studied medicine at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. He has practiced as an obstetric anesthesiologist for over three decades, helping thousands of women through their labor and deliveries. He was also a state senator for 12 years and served as a medical officer in the Naval Reserves.

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Rep. Loretta Sanchez
(D-Calif.)

Rep. Loretta Sanchez, a Democrat, represents California’s 46th congressional district. Sanchez began her congressional career in January 1997 and is currently serving her tenth term in the U.S. House of Representatives. She holds senior positions on the House Armed Services Committee and the House Homeland Security Committee. She is a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and serves as the co-chair of the Immigration Task Force. She is also a member of the Subcommittee on Strategic Forces. A product of public schools and Head Start and a practicing Roman Catholic, Sanchez is a graduate of Chapman University and American University’s MBA program. Prior to serving in Congress, she worked in the financial markets, with firms including Booz Allen Hamilton and Fieldman Rolapp.

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Chris Matthews
Host, “Hardball with Chris Matthews,” MSNBC

Chris Matthews is the host of MSNBC’s “Hardball with Chris Matthews.” He has been following American politics since the first Eisenhower campaign. His career has taken him from the Peace Corps in Africa to the White House as a presidential speechwriter, and to Congress as a top aide for Speaker of the House Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill, Jr. In the late 1980s, Matthews switched to full-time journalism, serving as Washington bureau chief for the San Francisco Examiner. He began his career on television in 1994, and in 1997 he launched Hardball, now on MSNBC, which was the title of his best-selling handbook on real-life politics published in 1988.

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Hon. Francis Rooney
Former U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See; Chief Executive, Rooney Holdings, Inc.

Francis Rooney served as U.S. ambassador to the Holy See under George W. Bush. He is the author of “The Global Vatican: An Inside Look at the Catholic Church, World Politics and the Extraordinary Relationship between the United States and the Holy See.” Rooney is currently the chief executive of Rooney Holdings, Inc. and is chairman of Manhattan Construction Group. He is on the Board of Advisors of the Panama Canal Authority, a trustee of the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress, a member of the Council of American Ambassadors and a director of The Trust for the National Mall.

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