Joe Biden received by Pope at unusually long private audience…
October 31, 2021
Pope Francis has hosted US President Joe Biden at the Vatican for an unusually long private audience. After the approximately one and a half hour meeting, political talks followed more widely, including with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, the White House announced on Friday.
Biden thanked the Pope for his commitment to the poor and those affected by conflict. He praised the Pope’s commitment to combating climate change and the corona pandemic, the White House said. A regular churchgoer, Biden is the second Catholic president in American history.
The meeting between the 78-year-old president and the pope behind closed doors was originally supposed to last an hour. Following the conversation with Francis, Biden met with the Vatican’s No. 2, Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin.
It was unclear whether the controversial topic of abortion was discussed. Biden’s government supports the right to terminate pregnancy, which contradicts the position of the Catholic Church. Some US bishops demanded that Biden be banned from communion, an important part of the mass.
The US Bishops’ Conference said in June that it had not decided to exclude certain people from communion. The Pope recalled that bishops are counselors and not politicians. He had not yet refused communion to anyone, Francis said in September. At the same time, he left no doubt that abortion is “murder” for the Church.
Biden is considered a faithful Catholic. On the first day of his term in office, a photo of Pope Francis appeared alongside the family photos in his office. The first Catholic president of the US was John F. Kennedy (1961-1963).