WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden will meet Pope Francis at the Vatican during a trip to Europe this month, the White House announced Thursday.
Biden will meet with the pope on Oct. 29 in Vatican City, where, according to the White House, they plan to discuss “working together on efforts grounded in respect for fundamental human dignity, including ending the COVID-19 pandemic, tackling the climate crisis, and caring for the poor.”
Biden, who regularly attends Mass, is the second Roman Catholic president in U.S. history.
A faction of conservative bishops in the U.S. have argued that Biden should be denied communion over his support for abortion rights. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is drafting new guidance that could instruct priests to deny communion to some public officials. Francis recently suggested to reporters that he does not support the effort.
The Bidens are traveling to Rome for the G20 Leaders’ Summit, scheduled for Oct. 30 to 31. After the event, Biden is expected to visit Glasgow, Scotland, from Nov. 1 to 2 to attend the start of the 26th Conference of the Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, the announcement said.
Pope Francis has been in the news over the last few months as he has urged faster distribution around the world 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 contended was intellectually disabled.