President Joe Biden effusively praised Pope Francis on Sunday, reflecting on his personal audience he had at the Vatican on Friday.
“He is everything I learned about Catholicism from the time I was a kid going from grade school through high school,” Biden said.
The president spoke about Pope Francis at a press conference with reporters in Europe after the G20 Summit.
“This is a man of great empathy. He’s a man who understands that part of his Christianity is to reach out and forgive,” Biden said.
Biden surprised the Catholic world after he revealed details of his private audience with the pope, claiming the pontiff told him he was a “good Catholic” and should keep receiving communion. The Vatican declined to detail the pope’s comments, citing the private nature of the conversation.
Biden publicly supports the right for a woman to abort her unborn child, and publicly voices his opposition to Catholic teaching that life begins at conception.
The president did not talk about abortion, but expressed his feelings about Pope Francis and his papacy.
Biden said he favored Pope Francis’ “Who am I to judge?” comment about homosexuals to reporters after he was elected pope.
“There’s always been debate in the church going back to Pope John XXIII about reaching out and embracing people with differences,” he said.
Biden also revealed the details of another private conversation he had with Pope Francis after he was elected president.
“When I won he called me to tell me how much he appreciated the fact that I would focus on the poor and focus on the needs of people who were in trouble,” he said.
Biden also recalled when he “lost the real part of his soul” after his son Beau Biden died and that he took a lot of comfort from the pope during his visit to Philadelphia, PA in 2015.
He recalled the pope met personally with his family to comfort them.
“Pope Francis has become someone who has provided great solace for my family when my son died,” he said.
Biden concluded that Pope Francis was working to establish “peace and decency and honor” in the world.
“He’s just a fine decent honorable man. And we keep in touch,” he concluded.
Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.