Boehner Vatican: House Speaker John Boehner said he will not join a U.S. delegation to the Vatican.
House Speaker John Boehner has turned down an invitation from President Barack Obama to meet the new pope in the Vatican.
Obama and Vice President Joe Biden are part of a delegation to meet Pope Francis I in Vatican City. The delegation will be led by Biden, the first Catholic to be elected vice president in United States history, according to The Associated Press.
Boehner, a Catholic, said that he is grateful for the invitation but could not attend the trip, citing his duties in Congress.
“I am grateful for the invitation to attend the papal investiture in Rome with Vice President Biden, and would like to be able to join the trip,” Boehner said, according to the Washington Post. “Unfortunately, my duties in the House next week–including hosting President Obama and the Prime Minister of Ireland at the Capitol on Tuesday, and the debate on the budget–make that impossible.”
He continued, “I wish the Vice President all the best in his journey, and hope he communicates the prayers and warm regards of every American, especially Catholics, to the first pope from the Americas.” Jorge Bergoglio, the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, was elected as the new pope on Wednesday.
According to the Washington Times, Obama on Wednesday offered Boehner a trip to signify bipartisan good will as part of his outreach to congressional Republicans.
Boehner also gave the new pope warm wishes and congratulated him.
“I’m happy they were able to come to a choice as quickly as they did,” he said, according to the Times. “I think reaching out beyond the traditional continent of our church is commendable and is best and the right direction for the church.”
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