US President Biden: Pope told him he should ‘keep receiving communion’

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President Joe Biden said Pope Francis told him he should continue to receive Communion, as the world’s two most prominent Roman Catholics ran overtime in highly personal discussions on climate change, poverty and the coronavirus pandemic that also touched on the loss of president’s adult son and jokes about aging well.

Biden’s support for abortion rights and same-sex marriage has put him at odds with many US bishops, some of whom have suggested he should be denied Communion.

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Biden said abortion did not come up in the meeting at the Vatican. “We just talked about the fact he was happy that I was a good Catholic and I should keep receiving communion,” Biden said.

Video released by the Vatican showed several warm, relaxed moments between Francis and Biden as they repeatedly shook hands and smiled.

Francis often sports a dour look, especially in official photos, but he seemed in good spirits Friday. The private meeting lasted about 75 minutes, according to the Vatican, more than double the normal length of an audience with the pontiff

The pair sat across from one another at a desk in the papal library, accompanied by a translator. They then proceeded to an exchange of gifts and a broader meeting including the first lady and top officials.

The lengthy session put Biden more than an hour behind schedule.

Read more: Pope Francis: COP26 must offer concrete hope to future generations

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