Biden says Pope Francis thinks he should keep receiving communion

Biden says Pope Francis thinks he should keep receiving communion
© Associated Press

Pope FrancisPope FrancisInvestigators say Pope Benedict knew about abused children while Munich archbishop Pope says prison inmates should not be deprived of hope Top Vatican official, aide test positive for COVID-19 MORE described President BidenJoe BidenPredictions of disaster for Democrats aren't guarantees of midterm failure A review of President Biden's first year on border policy  Vilsack accuses China of breaking commitments in Trump-era trade deal MORE as a "good Catholic" during their meeting on Friday, according to Biden, and also said that he should keep receiving communion.

Biden told reporters that the issue of abortion rights, which Biden supports and which has led to calls for the Catholic Church to not offer him communion, did not come up in the discussion. 

“No, it didn’t,” he said when asked if abortion came up. “We just talked about the fact that he was happy that I was a good Catholic and ... keep receiving communion.” 

ADVERTISEMENT

When asked if the pope said he should keep receiving communion, the president responded, “Yes.”

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is coming out with a formal statement next month on the meaning of Holy Communion, which will include whether pro-abortion rights politicians such as Biden should be denied it. 

The decision to proceed with its drafting runs counter to the wishes of Pope Francis, who has cautioned the bishops against denying communion to politicians and warned that the rite shouldn’t be used as a political weapon. 

When asked whether he and the pope discussed the U.S. bishops statement, Biden said that’s a private conversation.

The two men prayed together, the president said.

“I did, and he said one for me,” Biden said. He said that he had prayed for “peace.”

Biden said the pope blessed his rosary, he did not take communion with him and that his meeting was “wonderful.” 

Biden, only the second Catholic president in U.S. history, regularly goes to church and touts his faith as a deeply personal aspect of his life.

His meeting with the pope lasted for 90 minutes, and the two exchanged gifts, including a presidential challenge coin and handwoven chasuble used by the pope’s Jesuit order.

They spoke about Satchel Paige, the trailblazing Black baseball pitcher, and Biden made a joke about their ages. He also thanked the pope for his advocacy for the world’s poor and those suffering from hunger, conflict, and persecution.

The Vatican released photographs of the two men together and of the pope receiving the gifts from the president.

There was no live broadcast of the meeting after the Vatican abruptly canceled plans for it on Thursday.