President Joe Biden will meet Pope Francis in Rome on October 29 despite criticism from Catholics about his position on abortion.
America’s second Catholic president and First Lady Jill Biden plan their audience with the pope at the Vatican during their trip for the G20 Leader’s Summit according to the White House.
From Italy, he is scheduled to travel on to Glasgow, Scotland, for the COP26 climate change summit.
“They will discuss working together on efforts grounded in respect for fundamental human dignity, including ending the COVID-19 pandemic, tackling the climate crisis, and caring for the poor,” read the announcement from White House press secretary Jen Psaki.
The White House did not mention the issue of abortion, a controversial topic for Biden as he has committed to keep abortion legal even though he claims to be a faithful Catholic. Biden also walked back his support for the Hyde Amendment, which blocks taxpayer funding for abortions.
Pro-abortion Biden receives cold shoulder from Catholic lay group. https://t.co/bECGApKtiH
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) December 3, 2020
Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City the head of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Pro-Life Activities criticized Biden on Tuesday in an interview on EWTN.
“He likes to call himself a devout Catholic. I would urge him to begin to act like one, especially on the life issues,” Naumann said. “And to let his faith really inform his conscience and the decisions that he’s making, not the platform of his party.”
In June, the USCCB voted to draft a formal statement about Catholic public figures receiving the Eucharist despite openly defying Church teaching on abortion.
Biden indicated he was not concerned about the bishops denying him the Eucharist.
“That’s a private matter and I don’t think that’s going to happen,” he said.The White House
Pope Francis has appeared more lenient on the issue of public figures receiving communion, despite their vocal support of abortion.
“Communion is not a prize for the perfect … Communion is a gift,” he told reporters in September, cautioning bishops to manage the process “pastorally.”
“What should the pastor do?” he asked. “Be a shepherd, do not go around condemning, not condemning, but be a pastor.”
The 78-year-old Biden is a practicing Catholic, who attends Mass at least once a week. John F. Kennedy was America’s first Catholic president.