In a meeting full of symbolism, both leaders strengthened ties as the most powerful Catholics in the world. What conclusions could be drawn from the meeting between Biden and Pope Francis?.
The religious views of both Biden and Francis have several similarities compared to that of other popes and bishops, who have made clear a more conservative position on the matter. Photo: TW-POTUS
LatinAmerican Post | Yolanda González Madrid
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According to Vatican spokesmen, Pope Francis has never before looked so cheerful and upbeat during a meeting with a president of the United States. In fact, the 30 minutes that he spent with Donald Trump, or the 50 with Barack Obama, fell short when the Supreme Pontiff met for more than an hour with Joe Biden, a president who stands out for his unwavering faith in him. Catholicism and with which he has a personal relationship.
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Biden's political and personal path has always been marked by religion, a characteristic that makes him one of the most religious presidents of the last decades in the United States. That was precisely one of the details that led him to win the elections against Donald Trump, but if there is something that differentiates him from the rest in that area, it is his liberal position on Catholicism. Despite the constant attacks he has received, for this reason, the president made possible an important alliance with the Pope, who has classified him as "a good Catholic."
In this sense, the religious vision of both Biden and Francis has several similarities compared to that of other popes and bishops, who have made clear a more conservative position on the matter. Certainly, both authorities support the elementary principles of Catholicism, but the only difference is that they seek to adapt them to the demands of the new times so that it can evolve.
During the meeting prior to the meeting of G-20 heads of state and government, Biden and the Pope touched on several points that they have in common on their agendas. Many know that the pope has remained at the forefront in the fight against the climate crisis, as well as in defense of the poor and those who suffer social conflicts, tasks that the US president has recognized and shared. Even the activism of both to end the pandemic with the distribution of vaccines and for an equitable global economic recovery has placed them in a political-spiritual crusade.
It was an honor to meet with Pope Francis again at the Vatican yesterday. His compassion and advocacy for the poor and those suffering from hunger, conflict, and persecution serves as a North Star for the world. May we all carry his example with us as we go about our daily lives. pic.twitter.com/1srgLMNzrN
— President Biden (@POTUS) October 30, 2021
The abortion dilemma
Although Biden assured the media that at the meeting they did not speak about his position on abortion rights, it is worth mentioning that the president's visit to the Vatican takes place amid criticism he has received from the most conservative sectors of the Catholic Church. American on the subject. And it is that what would make a difference with the Pope has turned out to be, in fact, a meeting point to strengthen their ties.
«A veces los obispos no se comportan como pastores, sino que se inclinan a la política. La comunión no es un premio para los perfectos, la comunión es un don, es un regalo. Ya basta de excomuniones». – Papa Francisco
Let us remember that the Pope has maintained a firm opposition to abortion, describing it even as a "homicide". However, where he has avoided taking a solid position is on the idea of denying communion to politicians who support that right, a situation that Biden has been leading. Given this, the pope at the time expressed his disagreement with the US bishops, ensuring that politics should not influence such decisions and that the church should take a "pastoral" stance. "What should the pastor do? Be a pastor, not condemn. Be a pastor, because he is also a pastor for the excommunicated," said the Supreme Pontiff, according to Vatican News .
The truth of the matter is that Biden keeps navigating the delicate seas of politics and religion by being a Catholic Democrat who not only supports abortion but also equal marriage. His convictions have turned him against the most conservative religious leaders, who seek to apply a possible public reprimand to him. The detail is that any official statement on the matter should be approved by the Vatican, and, as we already know, the Pope's liberal vision will be the last word.
United to try to change the Catholic vision
The meeting between Biden and Pope Francis showed an evident harmony between two of the global leaders of the post-coronavirus world. Beyond agreeing on the protection of the environment or fighting racial and social injustice, both figures are also under siege and fighting against different types of ideologues, especially the ultra-conservatives. Your alliance is beginning to be seen as a new opportunity to form that universal brotherhood that is so desired in these times.
In short, the vision that both characters have invites us to think that we are at the door of a new way of seeing, feeling, and living Catholicism.
Ya no queda tiempo para esperar: son demasiados los rostros humanos sufrientes a causa de esta crisis climática. Es preciso actuar con urgencia, valentía y responsabilidad para preparar un futuro en el que la humanidad sea capaz de cuidar de sí misma y de la naturaleza. #COP26
— Papa Francisco (@Pontifex_es) November 2, 2021