President Joe Biden met with Pope Francis on Friday (October 29) as his second trip to Europe got underway. The two met privately for 90 minutes and discussed a wide range of issues, including the coronavirus pandemic, climate change, and "a lot of personal things."
"President Biden thanked His Holiness for his advocacy for the world's poor and those suffering from hunger, conflict, and persecution. He lauded Pope Francis' 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," the White House said in a statement.
Biden was asked by a reporter if the two discussed abortion during the meeting. Biden, who has been under fire from U.S. Bishops because of his pro-choice stance, replied saying that Pope Francis commended him for being a "good Catholic" and said that he can keep receiving Communion when he goes to church.
"No, it didn't. It came up -- we just talked about the fact that he was happy I was a good Catholic and keep receiving Communion," Biden said.
After the meeting, Biden and the Pope exchanged gifts.
"I'm not sure this is appropriate, but there is a tradition in America that the president has what is called a command coin that he gives to warriors and leaders, and you are the most significant warrior for peace I've ever met," Biden told Pope Francis.
"It has the U.S. seal in the front," Biden explained. "I know my son would want me to give this to you because on the back of it, I have the state of Delaware in the 261st Unit my son served with."