By JOSH BOAK and ZEKE MILLER, Associated Press
ROME (AP) — Hours after arriving in Rome, President Joe Biden will meet with Pope Francis on Friday at the Vatican, the place the world’s two most notable Roman Catholics plan to focus on the COVID-19 pandemic, local weather change and poverty.
The president takes satisfaction in his Catholic religion, utilizing it as ethical guidepost to form a lot of his social and financial insurance policies. Biden wears a rosary and regularly attends Mass, but his help for abortion rights and same-sex marriage has put him at odds with many U.S. bishops, a few of whom have prompt he must be denied Communion.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki, in previewing the go to, stated she anticipated a “heat and constructive dialogue” between the 2 leaders.
“There’s a substantial amount of settlement and overlap with the president and Pope Francis on a spread of points: poverty, combating the local weather disaster, ending the COVID-19 pandemic,” Psaki stated. “These are all massively vital, impactful points that would be the centerpiece of what their dialogue is once they meet.”
National safety adviser Jake Sullivan stated the president and pontiff would meet privately, then maintain talks with expanded delegations. Biden is visiting Rome after which Glasgow, Scotland, for back-to-back summits, first a gathering for leaders of Group of 20 main and growing nations after which a world local weather convention.
As solely the second Catholic president after John F. Kennedy, Biden has made his viewers with the pope a transparent precedence. It will probably be his first scheduled meeting on a five-day journey overseas and his spouse, Jill, may also attend. Biden and Francis have beforehand met 3 times however Friday’s encounter will probably be their first since Biden turned president this 12 months.
Following the papal meeting, Biden will meet individually Friday with Group of 20 summit hosts Italian President Sergio Mattarella and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi. He will finish the day by meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron, a part of an effort to mend relations with France after the U.S. and U.Okay. determined to present nuclear-powered submarines to Australia, scotching an present French contract.
Biden’s meeting with Pope Francis generated some controversy upfront because the Vatican on Thursday abruptly canceled plans to broadcast the meeting with Biden reside and denied press entry. Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni stated the revised tv plan mirrored the virus protocol for all heads of state audiences, although he didn’t say why extra strong reside TV protection had been initially scheduled after which canceled.
Viewers will solely see the arrival of the presidential motorcade within the courtyard of the Apostolic Palace, the place a Vatican monsignor will welcome Biden. There will probably be no reside broadcast or impartial images of Biden greeting Francis within the palace Throne Room, nor reside footage of the 2 leaders sitting down to start their dialog in Francis’ library.
The Vatican stated it might present edited footage of the encounter after the actual fact to accredited media.
A reside broadcast was significantly vital as a result of the Vatican has barred impartial photographers and journalists from papal audiences with leaders since early 2020 due to the coronavirus, regardless that exterior news media are allowed into different papal occasions.
That resolution comes as U.S. bishops are scheduled to meet in roughly three weeks in Baltimore for his or her annual fall conference. Among the agenda objects for that conference is an effort by conservatives to disqualify Biden from receiving Communion. Any doc rising from the occasion is unlikely to single out the president by identify, however he nonetheless may face some type of rebuke.
Francis has careworn that he is not going to reject political leaders who help abortion rights, although Catholic coverage permits particular person bishops to select whether or not to forestall individuals from taking Communion.
Over the years, Vatican conferences between presidents and popes have had their share of awkward moments.
President Ronald Reagan had hassle protecting his eyes open on his first go to to the Vatican in 1982. When George W. Bush met with Pope Benedict XVI, his overly informal conduct was famous by many Italians and Vatican watchers as he addressed the pope as “sir,” somewhat than the customary “your holiness,” and as he leaned far again in his chair. When Donald Trump met in 2017 with Francis, with whom the president had a prickly relationship, photographs confirmed a stone-faced Francis standing subsequent to a grinning Trump.
President Biden has lengthy forged his religion as a cornerstone of his identification, writing in his 2007 memoir “Promises to Keep” that Catholicism gave him a way “of self, of household, of group, of the broader world.” He admits to changing into indignant with God after the demise of his first spouse and child daughter in a 1972 visitors accident, however Biden stated he by no means doubted God’s existence.
In a 2007 interview with The Christian Science Monitor, Biden stated he believes his religion is common sufficient to settle for these with differing viewpoints.
“My views are completely in line with Catholic social doctrine,” Biden stated. “There are parts inside the church who say that in case you are at odds with any of the teachings of the church, you’re at odds with the church. I feel the church is larger than that.”
Associated Press author Nicole Winfield contributed to this report.
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