The United States President, Joe Biden, will not be a part of late Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s funeral “in line with the wishes of the late pope and the Vatican.”
Biden is well known for supporting gay rights, opposing the abortion rights, and having a controversial stance regarding several other notions which defy the teachings and beliefs of the Catholic Church.
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Biden confirmed the news on Wednesday while talking with a reporter, however, he seemed reluctant when he was asked to elaborate the reason.
“You’re not attending [Pope Benedict XVI’s] funeral tomorrow, though. Why?” the reporter inquired.
“Well why do you think?” the president responded.
“You tell me,” The reporter pressed.
“You know why.” Biden insisted.
“You can tell me, sir,” the reporter claimed before Biden started to clarify, though, in the video footage, it is really hard to understand what he was trying to say.
Joe Biden is the second Catholic president in the entire U.S. history which raises the question why Biden was not invited to the late Pope’s funeral, apart from the issue of his controversial views regarding matters that go against Catholic Church’s teachings.
However, the statements made by White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre in a press conference this past Tuesday shows that President Biden might have been told to not attend the funeral.
“Pope Benedict — his funeral is Thursday. The late Pope Benedict, his funeral is Thursday. Is the U.S. sending a delegation to Rome, do you know?” a reporter asked.
“So, let me just first say — because we haven’t been able to be on the record on this since the passing of the Pope,” the press secretary replied.
“So, as the President said in his statement, as I’m sure you saw, he joins Catholics and so many others around the world in mourning the passing of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. He will always remember the Pope’s generosity and meaningful conversation they had when he visited the Vatican in 2011.
“So, to answer your question, the U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See, Joe Donnelly, will represent the United States at the funeral of the Pope, in line with the wishes of the late Pope and the Vatican. This is what — this is what their requests were. This is what their wishes were. And so, that’s what you’re seeing from the U.S.,” she added.
“Following up, what did — I know you read a statement there, but what did Pope Benedict mean to President Biden as a Catholic?” the reporter questioned.
“Look, you know, the President, as you know, he takes his faith very seriously. This is someone who is passionate about his faith. That’s not something I even need to tell you; you know this for yourself,” the press secretary stated.
“And he — again, he — he remembers the Pope’s generosity and his meaningful conversation they had when they visited — when he — when the President visited the Vatican back in 2011. And so, that’s something that the President remembers and holds very close — close to heart,” she said.
On New Year’s Eve, Biden did release a statement concerning the demise of the former pope.
Biden stated that “Jill and I join Catholics around the world, and so many others, in mourning the passing of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. I had the privilege of spending time with Pope Benedict at the Vatican in 2011 and will always remember his generosity and welcome as well as our meaningful conversation. He will be remembered as a renowned theologian, with a lifetime of devotion to the Church, guided by his principles and faith. As he remarked during his 2008 visit to the White House, ‘the need for global solidarity is as urgent as ever, if all people are to live in a way worthy of their dignity.’ May his focus on the ministry of charity continue to be an inspiration to us all.”
The present pope, Pope Francis, also paid homage to the former pope.
“We are moved as we recall him as such a noble person, so kind and we feel such gratitude in our hearts, gratitude to God for giving him to the church, and to the world,” Pope Francis stated in Saint Peter’s Basilica.
He further added that “Gratitude to him for all the good he accomplished and above all for his witness of faith and prayer, especially in these last years of his life. Only God knows the value of his sacrifices for the good of the church.”
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI was 95 years old when he passed away on December 31 last year. From April 2005 till February 2013, the late pope remained as the head of the Vatican Church. However, he stepped down from the position in 2013 following health-related issues.
Despite being a Catholic, Biden has always supported ideas that go against the teachings and values of the Catholic Church. Biden is a radical abortion rights supporter, going against the pro-life teachings of the church. In addition, he has also been a strong advocate of anti-religious freedom policies that go against his Catholic faith.