Pope Francis

Updated at 9:40 p.m. ET

Pope Francis, in a speech at Independence Hall in Philadelphia, spoke of the need to preserve religious freedom throughout the world and warned against the use of religion "as a pretext for hatred and brutality."

"In this place which is symbolic of the American way, I would like to reflect with you on the right to religious freedom," he said. "It is a fundamental right which shapes the way we interact socially and personally with our neighbors whose religious views differ from our own."

Since his selection, there’s been intense interest in Pope Francis’s leadership, among Catholics and non-Catholics.  And that interest is growing, as he now heads to the U.S. with a packed schedule that includes an unprecedented Congressional address….and a tendency to tackle politically charged issues, from capitalism to climate change.  

GUESTS:

Last March, the election of Pope Francis was announced with a billow of white smoke. Nine months later, the media remain in a papal haze.  Time Magazine named Pope Francis its person of the year. Francis also topped Esquire's list of 2013's best-dressed men, and Buzzfeed jumped on the papal bandwagon with its list of "The 19 Best Pope Francis Moments of 2013".

Christus Vincit / Flickr Creative Commons

Pope Benedict the 16th stunned the Catholic world in February by announcing his retirement: the first papal resignation in 700 years. And since the election of Pope Francis in March, the surprises have only continued: he’s the first Latin American pope, the first Jesuit, the first pope from the southern hemisphere.