Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan, R, says he thinks it was a good idea for U.S. House Speaker John Boehner to invite Pope Francis to address a joint meeting of Congress.
Boehner said in a statement this week that the pope has inspired millions with his pastoral manner and servant leadership.
The speaker said he had extended an open and formal invitation to the pontiff.
In his statement, Boehner highlighted the pope's call for the protection of the most vulnerable — the ailing, disadvantaged, "impoverished and the unborn."
The news prompted criticism from some circles and praise from others.
Ryan, who ran for vice president in 2012, said in a news release, "I want to thank Speaker Boehner for inviting Pope Francis to address a joint session of Congress. Pope Francis has spoken out in behalf of the less fortunate and has challenged all of us to lead lives of service. I would welcome any opportunity for him to share his pastoral message with the entire country."