Good Morning
Good Morning
NewsNew York

Cuomo, de Blasio embrace pope's message as visit nears

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo speaks at a news

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo speaks at a news conference at his Manhattan office on Monday, Aug. 10, 2015. Credit: Charles Eckert

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio on Sunday both evoked and commended Pope Francis' message of social and economic justice before the pontiff's visit this week to New York City.

"Repentance, forgiveness, non-judgementalism, nondiscrimination, helping those who are less fortunate, that's Pope Francis' gospel," Cuomo said at a service at Mount Neboh Baptist Church in Harlem. "There's an opportunity for us, because the essential message is do justice."

The governor said Francis has "transcended" Catholics and Christians and been embraced by all religions.

De Blasio, in an interview on ABC's "This Week," shared the same sentiment, saying, "His holiness has captured the imagination of the entire world -- Catholic believers and nonbelievers and people of all faiths -- because he's talking about what a moral structure looks like that actually is inclusive."

The mayor said the Catholic church preaches "fairness in every sense."

He and Cuomo, fellow Democrats and frequent political rivals, took to separate pulpits Sunday to promote separate agenda items using the pope's call for justice and equity. De Blasio, at the Christian Cultural Center in East New York, Brooklyn, called for raising standards in education while Cuomo at Mount Neboh called for the raising of the state's minimum wage.

The governor urged the parishioners to back his push for a $15 minimum wage for all workers. His office later Sunday said 96 clergy members had signed on to the Mario Cuomo Campaign for Economic Justice, named for the former governor, Andrew Cuomo's late father.

"Despite all this wealth . . . poverty is still the same," Cuomo said. "Well, government can do something about it, we set the minimum wage."

Fast-food workers, who Cuomo announced earlier this month will earn a phased-in $15 minimum wage, live below the poverty level on their current minimum wages and thus, qualify for taxpayer-funded government aid, the governor said.

"We are subsidizing McDonalds to pay their workers a low wage, and we are then compensating with taxpayers' dollars," he said. "I want to get outta the hamburger business!"

De Blasio touted his Equity and Excellence education plan, which in part aims to raise graduation rates, produce college-ready students and require computer science of all kids across grades and neighborhoods.

"Every child in every classroom deserves a future that isn't limited by their ZIP code," he said. "It's as simple as that."

More news