Central Valley, California Congressmen David Valadao (R-CA) and Jim Costa (D-CA) welcomed Pope Francis' trip to Armenia this weekend, highlighting the global importance of his impending visit to the Armenian Genocide Memorial (Tsitsernakabert), reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
In a statement released on the eve of Pope Francis' arrival in Armenia's capital, Yerevan, Rep. Costa called the Holy See a "moral compass of the Catholic faith and it is from this high moral ground that His Holiness rightfully recognizes Armenia as the first nation to recognize Christianity and speaks to the moral challenges of our time. The Pontiff's visit to Armenia is further proof of his commitment to the Armenian people." Referencing the Pope's Centennial statement acknowledging this crime in 2015, Rep. Costa urged "the President and Congress to follow the lead of Pope Francis and finally adopt a clear policy recognizing the Armenian Genocide."
Rep. Valadao, lead sponsor of the Armenian Genocide Truth + Justice Resolution (H.Res.154) along with House Intelligence Committee Ranking Democrat Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Rep. Robert Dold (R-Il), applauded Pope Francis' decision to visit the Armenian Genocide Memorial. "It is important that world leaders continue to draw attention to the horrible events of the Armenian Genocide that took place over 100 years ago," explained Rep. Valadao. "While we continue to work on H.Res. 154, U.S. reaffirmation of the Armenian Genocide, my hope is that the Pope offering homage to the victims provides a sense of peace to the Armenian community."
ANCA Central California's Paul Jamushian welcomed the statements, noting, "The ANCA of Central California joins with Armenians worldwide in thanking Congressmen Valadao and Costa, echoing their powerful call upon our own government to follow the Pope's moral leadership in challenging Turkey's ongoing denial of both truth and justice for the Armenian Genocide."
Armenian Americans will be closely following His Holiness Pope Francis' historic trip to Armenia this weekend, energized by his moral leadership during the Armenian Genocide Centennial last year and hopeful that his courage will inspire our U.S. President and Congress to end their complicity in Turkey's genocide denial.