President Joe Biden and Pope Francis will meet on October 29 at the Vatican. According to the White House, the two are going to discuss some of the nation's crises on Thursday.
President and Pope Meets In Vatican
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki had written in a statement that President Biden and Pope Francis would discuss COVID-19, the climate crisis, and poverty, Catholic News Service reported.
According to his interview with CNS, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the apostolic nuncio to the United States, said he was assisting the Holy See in preparing for Biden's first presidential visit to the Vatican.
The nuncio said, "it would be an anomaly" if Biden would not convene with Pope Francis since he is the first U.S. Catholic president in 58 years.
On October 29, the two are set to meet, following a two-day summit of G-20 leaders in Rome, which Biden is attending, according to AP News.
After the summit, Biden is heading to Glasgow, Scotland, to participate in the U.N. climate conference called COP26.
U.S. Bishops Debate Drafting The Eucharist Document
Biden and the pope's scheduled meeting comes during a continuous debate of Catholic leaders in the U.S, Politico reports.
The debate is about whether to rebuke Biden and other Catholic politicians who advocate abortion through denial of Communion.
In September, Pope Francis had refused to come through into the issue directly, yet he advised that politics must stay separated from church practices. He then encouraged priests and ministers to act as pastors and 'not go condemning.'
President Biden's meeting is held a couple of weeks ahead of the U.S. bishops' fall conference. They are expected to vote on a controversial statement concerning the Eucharist, according to American Magazine Org.
The bishops had been voting to proceed in drafting the statement earlier this year.
A controversial debate occurred for two hours as some bishops claimed it could politicize the Eucharist. Meanwhile, some stated the statement is urgent due to Biden's support for abortion rights.
After the debate, U.S. bishops voted in favor of drafting the document.
In an October 8 interview, the head of the U.S. bishops' pro-life committee defined Biden's advocacy to abortion rights as "sad." He also pushed the drafting of the document.
Archbishop Joseph Naumann told EWTN that he is urging Biden to start acting as a 'devout Catholic' just like the president identifies himself, particularly on life issues.
The archbishop added that Biden must "let his faith" enlighten his conscience and the decisions he makes, "not the platform of his party.”
The plan about drafting a document regarding the Eucharist came from the particular working groups of bishops, which Archbishop José Gomez had met shortly.
Earlier this month, Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House, attended a Vatican conference. Pope Francis received her as a VIP audience.
The idea of Biden and Pelosi being welcomed by Pope Francis and other Vatican officials could draw awkwardness as some U.S. bishops had confronted them regarding their advocacy to abortion.
It Is Not The First Time
First Lady Jill Biden is going to accompany President Biden in his upcoming visit to the Vatican.
According to USA Today, it is not Biden's first meeting with Pope Francis. Back when he was the vice president under President Barack Obama, he had met the pope twice.
They first met in 2015, when Pope Francis attended the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia. It was followed at the Vatican in 2016 after President Biden participated in a conference about regenerative medicine and suggested finding new cures for cancer.