10 controversies swirling around Pope Francis’ visit to the US

Pope Francis has finally landed in the US for his first-ever visit to the country. The papal swing through the Northeast is guaranteed to captivate Americans, but the popular pontiff is likely to draw praise and criticism on numerous contentious issues.

The Bishop of Rome’s arrival comes at a delicate time for the Church in the US, which suffered damaging setbacks after a child sex abuse scandal. Although Catholicism is still the second-largest religion in the US, the number of Catholics in the US has declined and Pope Francis will be searching for ways to rejuvenate his flock.

So far, Pope Francis has defied being categorized on the traditional left-right spectrum of American politics, but his anticipated comments on a range of issues, from gay marriage and abortion to climate change and prison reform, will undoubtedly be seized upon for their political implications. Here are 10 of the most controversial issues surrounding the visit.

A contentious canonization
After visiting President Barack Obama on Wednesday morning, Francis will hold a canonization mass for Father Junipero Serra, a Catholic missionary who converted thousands of Native Americans in California. Declaring Serra a saint will mark the first time such an event has taken place on American soil, but critics have condemned the move, arguing that Serra was part of a Spanish colonization effort that decimated the Native population.

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Pope Francis to canonize Father Junipero Serra at Wednesday mass in Washington, D.C. http://abc7.la/1NL8N20