US President Joe Biden signed a condolence book for former Pope Benedict in Washington on Thursday, paying his respects to the former pontiff on the day his funeral mass was held in Vatican City.
Biden, a devout Catholic, lauded Benedict after his death for being “a renowned theologian, with a lifetime of devotion to the Church, guided by his principles and faith.”
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In his condolence note, Biden said Benedict was a brilliant scholar and a “Holy Man.”
“I will always cherish our time together at the Vatican when he was Pope discussing Catholic theology,” Biden wrote. “He was a great theologian and I learned much in a few hours.”
The president, a Democrat, has been criticized by some in the Catholic Church for his support of abortion rights. Benedict’s death was a loss for conservatives, who favored the more traditional Catholic Church that the former pope championed.
Biden signed the book at the Vatican’s diplomatic mission in Washington. Vice President Kamala Harris also signed the book during a separate visit on Thursday evening.
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