WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden will meet Pope Francis in the Vatican during a trip to Europe this month, the White House said Thursday.
Biden will meet with the Pope on October 29 in Vatican City, where, according to the White House, they plan to discuss “working together on efforts based on respect for basic human dignity, including ending the COVID pandemic -19, the fight against the climate crisis and take care of the poor.
Biden, who attends mass regularly, is the second Catholic president in United States history.
A faction of conservative bishops in the United States has argued that Biden should be denied communion for his support for abortion rights. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is drafting new guidelines that could order priests to deny Communion to certain officials. Francis recently suggested to reporters that he was not supporting the effort.
The Bidens travel to Rome for the G20 Leaders’ Summit, scheduled for October 30-31. After the event, Biden is expected to travel to Glasgow, Scotland, November 1-2 to attend the start of the 26th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, according to the announcement.
Ahead of the event, the Catholic Church and other religious leaders recently called for action on climate change, an issue the Pope has been outspoken about.
Pope Francis has been in the news in recent months as he called for faster worldwide distribution of Covid-19 vaccines. He also spoke out this month against the execution of a death row inmate in Missouri who killed three people in a 1994 convenience store robbery and whose lawyers argued was intellectually disabled. .