Biden says Pope told him to keep taking communion despite abortion row

Biden says Pope told him to keep taking communion despite abortion row
‘We just talked about the fact that he was happy I’m a good Catholic,’ Mr Biden told reporters on Friday. ‘And I should keep receiving communion’

During his meeting with Pope Francis in Vatican City, President Biden says the thorny issue of abortion didn’t come up – but he has the Pope’s blessing to keep taking communion.

“We just talked about the fact that he was happy I’m a good Catholic,” Mr Biden told reporters after the meeting on Friday. “And I should keep receiving communion.”

The White House said earlier this week that the pro-choice president would not be discussing abortion with the Pope, who has called the procedure “murder.” A number of US bishops have argued that Mr Biden, who is Catholic, should not be allowed to receive communion because of his views on the issue.

But Pope Francis has resisted that approach to the Democratic president, with whom he holds many other policy concerns in common, including the climate crisis.

On that issue, Mr Biden said he and the Pope discussed the “moral responsibility to have to deal with this.”

In its summary of the meeting, the White House emphasized those issues where the president and the pope see eye to eye.

“Biden thanked His Holiness for his advocacy for the world’s poor and those suffering from hunger, conflict, and persecution,” the White House said. “He lauded Pope Francis’ leadership in fighting the climate crisis, as well as his advocacy to ensure the pandemic ends for everyone through vaccine sharing and an equitable global economic recovery.”

In photos and videos of the meeting, the pair appeared to enjoy a warm, relaxed conversation. Pope Francis frequently laughed and smiled, in stark contrast to his dour composure at his meeting with the previous US president.

According to the Vatican, the meeting lasted 75 minutes – significantly longer than the approximately 30 minutes the Pope spent with Donald Trump and 52 with Barack Obama.

This is a breaking news story. More to follow

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