Vatican abruptly cancels live broadcast of Biden meeting Pope Francis

The Vatican on Thursday canceled a planned live broadcast of the meeting between President BidenJoe BidenBiden and Harris host 'family' Hanukkah celebration with more than 150 guests Symone Sanders to leave the White House at the end of the year Overnight Defense & National Security — Senate looks to break defense bill stalemate MORE and Pope FrancisPope Francis Pope calls on young people to protect environment The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - Gosar censured as GOP drama heightens Equilibrium/Sustainability — Presented by Southern Company — Native solar startups see business as activism MORE.

The meeting is slated for Friday and the Vatican press office did not provide an explanation for why the broadcast was canceled, The Associated Press reported. The broadcast will now only include the arrival of Biden’s motorcade to the Vatican and a Vatican monsignor greeting him.

The original broadcast was supposed to include live coverage of Francis and Biden greeting each other and the two of them sitting down before starting their private conversation. The Vatican, according to AP, will now provide edited footage of these moments after the fact to the media.

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The White House has deferred to the Vatican on questions over media access for the visit.

“What I can assure you of is that we are working through every lever we have to advocate for access for the press pool and for press when the president visits the Vatican. We believe in the value of the free press. We believe in the value of ensuring you have access to the president's trips and his visits overseas,” White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiSymone Sanders to leave the White House at the end of the year GOP sets back Biden's vaccine mandates amid omicron Fauci 'not aware' Trump tested positive for COVID-19 days before 2020 debate MORE told reporters on Tuesday.

She added that the White House had no update at the time on guaranteeing press access for the meeting.

“We are going on a visit. It is not a host here, so I can’t offer you a guarantee, but I can guarantee you we will continue to advocate,” she said. 

The White House did not immediately respond to comment on the canceled broadcast.

The meeting will be closely watched and comes as U.S. Catholic bishops are debating whether Biden, the second Catholic president in U.S. history, should be denied communion over his stance on abortion. 

Just days after Biden’s visit to the Vatican, the Supreme Court will start oral arguments to review Texas’s six-week abortion ban, which the Department of Justice says violates the court’s 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade.