Biden Arrives Vatican To Meet Pope Francis In Symbolic Meeting For America’s...

Biden Arrives Vatican To Meet Pope Francis In Symbolic Meeting For America’s Second Catholic President

By CNN on October 29, 2021
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President Joe Biden and Pope Francis

The last time President Joe Biden visited the Vatican, he was still reeling from the loss of his son Beau to cancer a year earlier.

The reason for his 2016 visit was the Third International Regenerative Medicine Conference, and — in a speech delivered with a massive bronze sculpture of the Resurrection as his backdrop — Biden made an impassioned call for developing new cures for the disease that took his son’s life.
But he also recalled a moment of kindness from his host, Pope Francis, who visited the United States in the months following Beau’s death and gathered with Biden’s extended family as he departed the states from the Philadelphia International Airport.
“We had just lost my son,” Biden said at the start of his speech. “And he met with my extended family in the hangar behind where the aircraft was. And I wish every grieving parent, brother, sister, mother, father, would have the benefit of his words, his prayers, his presence. He provided us with more comfort that even he, I think, will understand.”
Biden, alongside first lady Jill Biden, returned to the Vatican on Friday to meet a Pope who has provided both familial comfort and ideological inspiration to a President whose faith has long underpinned his public and private lives.
The President’s vehicle pulled to a stop in an interior courtyard of the Vatican at noon local time, and both stepped out from their limo, which was bearing the flag of the Holy See.
They were greeted by Monsignor Leonardo Sapienza, head of Papal Household, and other Vatican officials.
As he went down a receiving line shaking hands, Biden repeatedly said it was “good to be back.” At one point, he introduced himself by saying, “I’m Jill’s husband.”
Police officers stand by as the motorcade of President Joe Biden arrives across the Via della Conciliazione in Rome leading to the Vatican on Friday, October 29, 2021.
Police officers stand by as the motorcade of President Joe Biden arrives across the Via della Conciliazione in Rome leading to the Vatican on Friday, October 29, 2021.
Despite footage of the outdoor arrival, the visit has been clouded by severe restrictions on press coverage; independent journalists will not be allowed to see the two men meeting at all, and no live pictures of the Pope greeting Biden will be transmitted.
The visit is expected to touch on their personal relationship as Catholics and other key world issues, national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters on Tuesday. And their issues-related discussion is expected to address climate, migration and income inequality — major areas of consensus among both men.
Biden will be the 14th US president to meet with a pope at the Vatican. President Woodrow Wilson was the first to do so in 1919. A live broadcast of Biden’s meeting with the Pope has been canceled by the Vatican over the objections of journalists. Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said the Vatican will distribute video of some parts of the arrival and greeting with the Pope following the meeting.
While areas of common ground are expected to be discussed, it’s not clear whether the Vatican will put Biden in the hot seat.

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