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Vatican Mute When Asked if Pope Francis told Biden to Continue Receiving Communion

ROME — The Vatican declined to comment Friday about U.S. President Joe Biden’s claim that Pope Francis had encouraged him to keep receiving Holy Communion at Mass.

Biden met with Pope Francis in the Vatican for approximately 75 minutes Friday morning, after which reporters asked him if the topic of abortion had come up during their meeting.

“No, it didn’t,” Biden said. “It came up — we just talked about the fact that he was happy I was a good Catholic and I should keep receiving Communion.”

A number of U.S. bishops have urged Biden to stop referring to himself as a “devout Catholic” because of his vocal stand against core Church teachings on abortion, same-sex marriage, transgenderism, and religious freedom. Some prelates have said publicly that the president should voluntarily cease receiving Holy Communion.

Democratic presidential candidate and former US Vice President Joe Biden visits Grace Lutheran Church in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on September 3, 2020 (JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images).

Asked if the pope had indeed said Biden was a good Catholic and that he should continue receiving Holy Communion, Matteo Bruni, the director of the Holy See press office, said, “I would consider it a private conversation, and it is limited to what was said in the public statement.”

The public Vatican communiqué said the two leaders spoke about climate change, the coronavirus pandemic, immigration, and human rights, including religious freedom.

Breaking the usual protocol for meetings between the pope and a head of state, the Vatican did not allow media to be present for the Biden-Francis meeting, and no video live stream was provided. It is unclear whether the decision to shut out media came from the Vatican or the White House.

Catholic League President Bill Donohue said he is maintaining a healthy skepticism regarding Biden’s account of his meeting with the pope, both because it makes little sense and because Biden is a “pathological liar.”

Biden is only the second Catholic to become president, and U.S. bishops have repeatedly admonished him for his reinstatement of taxpayer-funded abortion domestically and abroad.

A January 20 statement by the president of the U.S. Bishops’ Conference (USCCB), Archbishop José Gomez, lamented that “our new President has pledged to pursue certain policies that would advance moral evils and threaten human life and dignity, most seriously in the areas of abortion, contraception, marriage, and gender.”

“Of deep concern is the liberty of the Church and the freedom of believers to live according to their consciences,” the statement said.

Pope Francis has repeatedly condemned abortion as a heinous crime, calling it “murder” and comparing killing the unborn to “hiring a hitman” to take out an enemy.

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