The meeting with Pope Francis leaves a strong impression on Biden: He is “all I have learned about Catholicism”

“This is a man who has a lot of empathy. He is a man who understands that part of his Christianity is to be achieved and forgiven,” Biden told reporters. “And so I find my relationship with him one in which I personally take a lot of comfort. He’s a really, really genuine man.”

The president and pope held 90-minute talks at a meeting Friday that brought together the official and personal side of the most pious U.S. leader in decades. Biden then said Francis had told him that he was pleased to be a “good Catholic,” and that he should continue to receive communion, despite the opposition of some conservative American bishops for his support of abortion. The meeting was twice as long as the one Biden had with Pope John Paul II as a young senator. While the White House later announced that topics such as climate change and Covid-19 had emerged, Biden told reporters that he had discussed “a lot of personal matters” with the Pope.

Biden did not directly answer a reporter’s question that sparked his reflection on the pope, who focused this summer on conservative bishops devising a plan to deny communion to the president because of his support for abortion. The president turned to the subject and instead recounted the Pope’s visit to the U.S. in 2015 shortly after the death of Beau Biden, the son of the then vice president.

“And he came and talked to my family for quite some time – 10, 15 minutes about my son, Beau,” Biden recalled. “And he didn’t just talk about him in general, he knew about him. He knew what he was doing, he knew who he was, he knew where he went to school. He knew what – he knew what kind of man he was, and that’s so cathartically affected his children and my wife in our family. “

The men showed a simple acquaintance during the meeting on Friday. In the remarkable footage from the inside, the eloquent Biden chatted warmly with Francis as they exchanged gifts and introduced each other’s delegations. At one point, Biden introduced Francis a a special coin with a deep personal meaning: on it were the insignia of the 261st Signal Brigade, a unit of the Delaware National Guard in which his late son served as a captain.

“I know my son would like me to give it to you,” Biden said. He explained that the coins were awarded to “warriors and leaders,” and described Francis as “the most important warrior for peace I have ever met.”

When Biden was elected, he said the pope called him “to tell me how much he appreciates the fact that I will focus on the poor and focus on the needs of people in need,” and the Jesuit added that “the Jesuit everything I learned about Catholicism, from the time I was a child, went from elementary school to high school. “

The president also admitted that he did not want to disclose too much about his relationship with the pope and told reporters, “I’m not going to lie, it’s just personal.”

“I don’t want to talk about it anymore because it’s a lot personal,” he later added.


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