Pope Francis asked the newly inaugurated President Joe Biden to respect the “rights and dignity of every person,” including those who “have no voice” in a message issued Wednesday.
“At a time when the grave crises facing our human family call for farsighted and united responses,” Pope Francis said in his written message, according to the Vatican. “I pray that your decisions will be guided by a concern for building a society marked by authentic justice and freedom, together with unfailing respect for the rights and dignity of every person, especially the poor, the vulnerable and those who have no voice.”
The pope called on God to guide Biden’s efforts “to foster understanding, reconciliation and peace within the United States and among the nations of the world in order to advance the universal common good.”
“With these sentiments, I willingly invoke upon you and your family and the beloved American people an abundance of blessings,” Pope Francis concluded. (RELATED: Biden Attends Mass At St. Matthew’s Cathedral In DC Ahead Of Inauguration)
The pope’s comments do not include any direct reference to abortion, which the Catholic Church decries as a “crime against human life.” Biden has drawn criticism for supporting and advocating for policies which the Catholic Church explicitly opposes, specifically abortion.
Biden, who is the second Catholic in the nation’s history to assume the highest office in the land, has frequently referenced his Catholic faith throughout his political career, describing his religion as “the bedrock foundation” of his life. He has frequently interacted with Pope Francis, the head of the Roman Catholic Church, and was reportedly spotted holding rosary beads during the 2011 raid on Osama Bin Laden.
Biden cited his faith as a reason for his pro-life votes in the Senate earlier in his career, but he has changed his abortion stances and today champions almost unlimited abortion access as a presidential candidate. This prompted a priest to deny Holy Communion to Biden during mass at a Catholic church in South Carolina in October 2019. (RELATED: Here’s How Joe Biden Has Evolved On Abortion As He Attempts To Become President)
“Sadly, this past Sunday, I had to refuse Holy Communion to former Vice President Joe Biden,” Father Robert E. More told the Morning News. “Holy Communion signifies we are one with God, each other and the Church. Our actions should reflect that. Any public figure who advocates for abortion places himself or herself outside of Church teaching.”
The former vice president later refused to discuss the incident, telling MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell: “I’m not going to discuss that, that’s my personal life and I’m not going to get into that at all.” (RELATED: Pope Francis Reportedly Congratulates Joe Biden)
Biden has promised that as president, he would reinstate Obama-era policies requiring the Little Sisters of the Poor to give employees access to birth control — though this goes against the religious beliefs of the sisters. The Supreme Court ruled July 8 that the Catholic nuns are exempt from Obama’s contraceptive mandate.
The former vice president also advocates for same-sex marriage, though the Catholic Church teaches that marriage is between a man and a woman.
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