Biden says Pope told him he’s a good Catholic and should continue receiving communion
The revelation of the Pope’s words to Biden come after American bishops moved forward with a plan that tried to permit individual bishops to deny communion to politicians who support abortion rights, setting up a potential public rebuke of Biden along with other prominent Catholic Democrats, such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Biden revealed the details of his lengthy talks with Francis as he was greeting Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi in Rome.
Asked if he discussed abortion with Francis, Biden said he hadn’t.
“We just talked about the fact he was happy I was a good Catholic and I should keep receiving communion,” Biden said.
Francis has spoken out against the moves by some American bishops to permit individual bishops to deny communion to politicians who support abortion rights.
Asked whether he’d discussed the US Conference of Bishops with Francis, Biden said, “That’s a private conversation.”
Biden said he did not receive communion on Friday, but that the Pope had blessed his rosary.
He added he’d discussed climate change with Francis, and agreed leaders “need to be more responsible” in dealing with the crisis.
Biden said earlier in the day that he and Francis had prayed for each other, and for peace.
The President has long found himself navigating the delicate politics that come with being a Catholic Democrat who supports abortion rights and gay marriage. Those convictions have often put him at odds with leaders in the church.
It’s an issue that’s long frustrated him, saying once in 2005, “The next Republican that tells me I’m not religious, I’m going to shove my rosary down their throat.”
Cardinal Wilton Gregory, the archbishop for Washington, DC, has said he will not deny the President communion.
The communion refusal movement is driven by the extremely conservative wing of the Catholic Church, and any official statement on the matter would need to be approved by the Vatican.
Reached for comment, the conference referred CNN to the Vatican.
Biden has dismissed the effort, telling reporters over the summer it was a “private matter” that he did not believe would be successful.
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