In the midst of the US abortion rights debate, Biden will meet with Pope Francis.
The White House announced on Thursday that US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden will begin their upcoming European diplomatic tour with a visit to the Vatican and a meeting with Pope Francis.
The announcement comes as Biden, a devout Catholic who attends church on a regular basis, has faced increasing criticism from some Catholics for his support for abortion rights. He’s urging Congress to approve legislation to defend reproductive rights as the conservative-leaning United States Supreme Court considers new state laws aimed at overturning the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, which has protected abortion access for nearly five decades.
The bill passed the House last month, but it has yet to be taken up by the Senate.
Some hardline Catholic groups have even suggested that Biden be denied communion because of his support for abortion rights.
Even though he considers abortion “murder,” the Pope has resisted this push.
Last month, he told reporters, “Communion is not a prize for the perfect.” “The presence of Jesus and his church is a gift, and communion is a gift.” Pope Francis compared terminating a pregnancy to hiring a hitman during an anti-abortion rights summit in Rome in 2019.
He asked the crowd, “Is it legal to take a human life to solve a problem?” “Is hiring a hitman to solve a problem legal?” Biden’s meeting with Pope Francis on October 29th, which is not the first time the two had met, was described by the White House as an effort to promote human rights and discuss the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and climate issue.
In a statement released Thursday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said, “They will discuss working together on actions built in respect for fundamental human dignity, including eliminating the COVID-19 pandemic, addressing the climate crisis, and caring for the underprivileged.”
The Vatican encounter comes ahead of Biden’s trip to Rome for the G20 Leaders’ Summit on October 30 and 31, which will be his second overseas trip as president. Following his visit to Italy, Biden will go to Glasgow, Scotland, for the UN’s climate change summit, known as COP26. On November 1 and 2, Biden will be in attendance.
Last week, Pope Francis met with Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the United States House of Representatives and a Catholic who supports abortion. This is a condensed version of the information.