U.S. House Speaker John Boehner has invited Pope Francis to the U.S. Congress. If the latter accepts it, he becomes the first spiritual leader ever to address the members of the U.S. parliament.
Mr Boehner said in a statement that millions of Americans have been inspired with Pope Francis and his pastoral manner and servant leadership. "He has always challenged all people to lead lives of mercy, forgiveness, solidarity, and humble service."
"These principles are among the fundamentals of the American idea," Mr Boehner said, "and though our nation sometimes fails to live up to these principles, at our best, we give them new life as we seek the common good."
Vatican had yet to respond to the invite, Mr Boehner's office said.
President Barack Obama is set to meet Pope Francis at Vatican on March 27. The spiritual pontiff however had already cleared from the start that he would like to focus on the Holy Land, Asia, and then Africa for his international visits.
The invitation did not mention a specific date, but proponents hoped the Pope would consider and visit in time for the global conference on families in Philadelphia in September.
"His tireless call for the protection of the most vulnerable among us -? the ailing, the disadvantaged, the unemployed, the impoverished, the unborn -? has awakened hearts on every continent," Mr Boehner said.