Biden confirms he will meet the Pope at the Vatican during the G20 summit as the president fights to protect abortion rights and Catholic bishops threaten to deny communion to politicians who support terminations
- President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden will meet with Pope Francis when he’s in Rome later this month to participate in the G20 leaders summit
- The White House confirmed Thursday that the president and first lady will visit with the Pope in the Vatican on October 29
- Their meeting comes during Biden’s campaign to protect abortion rights and a threat by Catholic bishops to deny communion to pro-choice politicians
- They will discuss the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and caring for the poor, press secretary Jen Psaki said
- Biden will go on to meet with world leaders at the G20 on October 30 and 31 and then travel to the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow on November 1 and 2
- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi set Halloween as the deadline to get Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure bill and reconciliation bill across the line
‘They will discuss working together on efforts grounded in respect for fundamental human dignity, including ending the COVID-19 pandemic, tackling the climate crisis, and caring for the poor,’ press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement.
It is unclear whether they will discuss abortion during President Biden’s push to protect rights and crackdown on Republican state restricting terminations.
Biden is only the U.S.’s second Catholic president, however some Roman Catholic bishops have pushed that he should be denied communion over his support for abortion rights.
The president has lashed out at Republicans trying to make abortion laws more restrictive, calling the recent Texas six-week ban ‘extreme’ and saying it ‘blatantly violates the constitutional right established under and upheld as precedent for nearly half a century.’
Biden (left) and Pope Francis (right), with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell standing behind them, wave from a balcony at the U.S. Capitol after the Pope addressed a joint-session of Congress in September 2015
Pope Francis (left) greets then Vice President Joe Biden (right) at the Vatican in April 2016, before President Donald Trump was elected. Biden’s son Hunter (second from right) and son-in-law Howard Krein (center) stand along his side
Biden will go on to meet with world leaders at the G20 on October 30 and 31.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi set Halloween as the deadline to get Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure bill and the multi-trillion reconciliation bill across the line.
The infrastructure bill has already passed the Senate, so simply need a House vote to get to the president’s desk. The negotiations on reconciliation are ongoing.
From Italy, Biden will travel to Glasgow, Scotland for the COP26 conference on climate change and attend meetings on November 1 and 2.
Biden talked about his relationship with Pope Francis last October when he addressed the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Dinner, doing so from Wilmington’s Queen theater because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Biden talked about his first meeting with Pope Francis during the Pope’s 2013 inauguration at the Vatican.
‘When I greeted him he said, “Mr. Vice President you’re always welcome here,”‘ Biden said. ‘He was really sending a message to the world to put out a welcome sign in the front door of our church.’
Biden also mentioned Pope Francis’ trip to the White House in 2015 – when he was in office with President Barack Obama – saying that like his visit to the Vatican in 2013, it gave him the sense of ‘hope and possibility together.’
‘And for me it came at a very personal moment, a very tough time in the life of my family. Our son Beau had just died a few months earlier,’ Biden said. ‘Pope Francis took the time to meet with my entire family to help us see the light through the darkness.’
Biden, as vice president, also traveled to the Vatican in April 2016 for a stem cell conference.
At the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Dinner, Biden said that his friendship with Pope Francis was proof that ‘anything is possible’ in the U.S.
‘I live in an amazing country, we all live in an amazing country,’ Biden said. ‘Where an Irish-Catholic kid like me from Scranton, Pennsylvania would one day befriend a Jesuit Pope.’
‘But that’s who we are as a country,’ Biden said.
Biden attends mass with his grandchildren Hunter, Finnegan and Natalie during his trip to Wilmington, Delaware last weekend