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Georgia Senator Says He Prayed with and Spoke to Pope Francis About Peace

ATLANTA, GEORGIA – JANUARY 15: U.S. Senator Rev. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) speaks onstage during the 2024 Martin Luther King, Jr. Beloved Community Commemorative Service at Ebenezer Baptist Church on January 15, 2024 in Atlanta, Georgia. The annual service is held in honor of the life of civil rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who would have turn 95 on January 15th. (Photo: Paras Griffin/Getty Images)
By Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock, a Democrat from Georgia, said he and Pope Francis prayed together when they met at the Vatican April 20.

“I was honored to meet @Pontifex at the Vatican over the weekend & pray with him,” the senator posted on X April 23 after returning to the United States. “I appreciated our discussion about the importance of staying grounded in our faith as we engage the political challenges of the day.”

Appearing on MSNBC April 23, Warnock, who still holds the position of senior pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, said of Pope Francis, “he’s someone whose ministry and whose sense of servant leadership I have long admired, and it was a real honor to spend time with him.”

The senator said he and Pope Francis spoke about the war in Ukraine, the situation in Gaza and the conflict in Sudan, and the humanitarian tragedies the conflicts are causing.

“This is a time that requires moral voices, spiritual voices, even from those who claim no particular faith tradition but come with a kind of moral bearing,” Warnock told MSNBC.

He said Pope Francis centers his concern on “human dignity, particularly the dignity of the most marginalized members of the human family,” and “that is something that I’ve tried to do in my ministry and in my work in the United States Senate.”

“Here’s a man with some 1.3 billion Catholics who are under his charge and yet he was very much focused on the parish that he has there in Gaza,” Holy Family parish, the senator said. “And he talks regularly with the folks who are there.”

Warnock said he agrees with Pope Francis that “the only viable way to peace” in the Middle East is the so-called “two-state solution” with an independent and secure Israel and an independent and secure Palestine.

“And I was honored to spend time to talk to him about how we get there so that cooler heads prevail, and the voices of peace push us toward a vision that embraces the humanity of all of us,” the senator said.