Biden says Pope thinks he’s a ‘good Catholic’, further fueling abortion debate in US


US President Joe Biden on Friday said Pope Francis told him he was a ‘good Catholic’ who can receive Communion, driving a wedge between Francis and conservative US bishops who want to deny him because of Biden’s support to the right to abortion. Biden and the Pope held an unusually long hour and 15 minute meeting in the Vatican as a debate raged at home over the issue.

When asked if the subject of abortion had been brought up, Biden replied, “No it isn’t… we just talked about how happy he was that I was a good Catholic and that I should continue to receive Communion, ”Biden told reporters. The president, who regularly attends weekly mass and keeps a photo of the Pope behind his desk in the Oval Office, said he was personally opposed to abortion but could not impose his point of view in as an elected leader.

In June, a divided conference of Catholic bishops in the United States voted to draft -abortion- views-2021-06-18 a statement on communion that some bishops say should specifically rebuke Catholic politicians, including Biden. They take up the subject again next month. But the pope’s comments to Biden, who leaked them during a photo op with Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, could prevent the bishops from following through on their plans.

When asked if he and the Pope had discussed American bishops, Biden replied “this is a private conversation.” Biden’s most ardent critics in the American Church hierarchy doubled before the visit.

“Dear Pope Francis, you have boldly declared abortion to be ‘murder’. Please challenge President Biden on this critical issue. His continued support for abortion is an embarrassment to the Church and a scandal to the world.” said Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence, Rhode Island, said in a Tweet ahead of the meeting. After the meeting, Tobin tweeted, “I’m afraid the Church has lost its prophetic voice. Where are the John the Baptist who will face the Herods of our time? , Apparently comparing Biden to King Herod, who beheaded the preacher John for calling out the sins of the king.

Last month, the Pope told reporters abortion was a “murder” -09-15 but appeared to criticize American Catholic bishops for dealing with the issue in a political rather than a pastoral way. “Communion is not a price for the perfect.… Communion is a gift, the presence of Jesus and his Church,” said the Pope, adding that bishops should show “compassion and tenderness” with Catholic politicians who support the right to abortion.

Since his election in 2013 as the first Latin American pope, Francis has said that while the Church should oppose abortion, the issue should not become a all-consuming battle in cultural wars that would distract attention from issues such as immigration and poverty. Biden’s meeting with the Pope took place three days before the United States Supreme Court -2021-10-22 hears the first of two major cases this year challenging a series of state laws backed by Biden’s rival Republicans limiting abortion rights. Abortion opponents hope the court will overturn the landmark 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision that legalized the procedure nationwide.

The White House and Vatican statements made no reference to the issue of abortion. EXCEPTIONALLY LONG MEETING

The White House said Biden thanked the Pope for “his advocacy on behalf of the world’s poor and those who suffer from hunger, conflict and persecution.” Biden also praised the “Pope’s leadership in tackling the climate crisis, as well as his advocacy to ensure an end to the pandemic for everyone through vaccine sharing and a fair global economic recovery.” The Vatican said the two discussed “caring for the planet,” health care, the pandemic, refugees, migrants and “the protection of human rights, including freedom of religion and of conscience “.

The Vatican said the private meeting lasted an hour and 15 minutes and then about an additional 15 minutes was spent taking photos and exchanging gifts in the presence of other members of the delegation, such as the wife. from Biden, Jill. The meeting with former President Donald Trump in 2017 lasted about 30 minutes and the one with Barrack Obama in 2014 lasted about 50 minutes.

Biden gave the Pope a “command coin” sometimes awarded to soldiers and leaders and told him, “You are the most important peace warrior I have ever met.”

(This story was not edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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