US President Joe Biden to meet with Pope Francis on his Vatican trip, to discuss COVID-19 and climate crisis

Associated PressUpdated: Thursday, October 14, 2021, 10:20 PM IST
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In this file photo taken on September 24, 2015, Pope Francis waves, next to US Vice President Joe Biden, on a balcony after speaking at the US Capitol building in Washington, DC. | AFP File Photo

Washington: President Joe Biden is set to meet Pope Francis when he visits the Vatican later this month as part of a five-day swing through Italy and the UK for global economic and climate change meetings.

Biden plans to discuss the coronavirus pandemic, the climate crisis and poverty during his meeting with the pope, according to the White House.

The meeting will take place on October 29, and Biden will then attend two-day summit of G-20 leaders in Rome, before heading to Glasgow, Scotland for the UN climate conference known as COP26.

Biden, who is Roman Catholic, often speaks of his faith in public and attends Mass every weekend. But his political views, including his support for gay marriage and abortion rights, have at times put him at odds with Catholic doctrine and brought controversy and criticism from some leaders of the Catholic church.

Earlier this year, a number of Catholic Bishops debated denying Biden Communion over his support for abortion rights, but eventually backed away from setting any policy for politicians and the Eucharist.

Biden has met with Pope Francis three times before - first, when Francis was inaugurated as pope, in 2013, later during the pope's 2015 visit to the US, and again in 2016, when Biden visited the Vatican for a conference on regenerative medicine, where he spoke on cancer prevention.

He keeps a photo of one of his meetings with the pope behind his desk in the Oval Office.

First lady Jill Biden will join her husband for his meeting with the pope.

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