Fact-checking the namesake of Pope Francis on his U.S. visit

Pope Francis and President Barack Obama chat during a state arrival ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House on Sept. 23, 2015. (AP)
Pope Francis and President Barack Obama chat during a state arrival ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House on Sept. 23, 2015. (AP)

Most of the conversation about Pope Francis' historic speech Wednesday from the South Lawn of the White House is centered on what he said about being from an immigrant family, the need to act on climate change, and the importance of protecting religious liberty.

A line that was less surprising but true to the pope's style mentions how American Catholics are "committed to building a society which is truly tolerant and inclusive, to safeguarding the rights of individuals and communities, to rejecting every form of unjust discrimination," according to prepared remarks. 

An ABC News analyst forecasted the pope's message of tolerance with an interesting point on This Week ahead of the speech.

"He took the name of a saint who basically reached out to Muslims," said analyst Matthew Dowd, referring to the Crusades era.

This comment piqued our curiosity.

St. Francis of Assisi lived in the early 1200s during the Crusades, so he might have had contact with the Arab world. The order he founded — the Franciscans — embraced poverty and service to the poor as the purest expression of Christ’s teachings. He saw animals as his brothers and sisters and is the patron saint of the environment. We decided to dig in on the Muslim angle.

See how we rated the claim.