U.S. President Joe Biden said he was told Friday that he should keep receiving communion despite his support for abortion.
Biden met with Pope Francis in Vatican City behind closed doors.
The topic of abortion did not come up, the president told reporters afterward.
“We just talked about the fact that he was happy that I was a good Catholic,” he claimed.
Asked if the pope said he should keep receiving communion, POTUS said “yes.”
Biden has been in danger of being denied communion since the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in June voted to approve the drafting of a document relating to how abortion supporters should be treated. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), another Catholic who supports abortion, was told the following month that “no one can claim to be a devout Catholic and condone the killing of innocent human life, let alone have the government pay for it.”
Biden told reporters he did not take communion with the pope. Asked if he discussed the U.C. Conference of Catholic Bishops, he said, that was a “private conversation.”
The pope has said before that Catholics who support abortion should not be excommunicated. However, he has said that there is no question that “abortion is homicide.”
A communique from the Holy See Press Office said the discussion between the pope and Biden focused on “their common commitment to the protection and care of the planet, the health situation and the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the issue of refugees, and how to provide assistance for migrants,” a report by Vatican News said.
A White House readout said Biden thanked the pope “for his advocacy for the world’s poor and those suffering from hunger, conflict, and persecution” and lauded his “leadership in fighting the climate crisis, as well as his advocacy to ensure the pandemic ends for everyone through vaccine sharing and an equitable global economic recovery.”
Asked earlier in the week if Biden planned to discuss abortion with the pope, White House press secretary Jen Psaki declined to respond.
Asked whether the president would take communion with the pope, she said “that’s something that’s very personal.”
“His faith is something that’s very personal to him. I don’t have anything to share at this time about that,” she added.
The men also spoke about protecting human rights during the approximately 90-minute audience, which was followed by an expanded meeting that included U.S. First Lady Jill Biden and officials like Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
During the visit, Biden and the pope exchanged gifts and jokes. Biden at one point joked that he would “buy the drinks” if the pope didn’t have a challenge coin he gave the pope.
Biden later met with Cardinal Pietro Parolin before leaving the Vatican and convening with Italian President Mattarella, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, and other Italian officials.