Mon. Jul 15th, 2024

Biden to hold a private meeting with Pope Francis on G7 summit sidelines

By 37ci3 Jun14,2024

BARI, Italy – President Joe Biden is expected to meet with Pope Francis Friday on the sidelines of the G7 summit in Italy, according to a senior administration official.

The pontiff will be the first Pope to attend the G7 discussions, choosing to focus on artificial intelligence, both its technological benefits and potential dangers.

The meeting between Biden, a devout Catholic who attends weekly Masses, and the church leader comes days after a jury convicted his son Hunter Biden of drug-related gun charges. Biden, who often talks about the importance of his family and the loss of his two children and his first wife, said that he believed that he had guided him through difficult times.

Biden last met with Pope Francis at the Vatican in October 2021, when the president praised him as “the most important fighter for peace I have ever met.”

The two have since exchanged text messages, the official said.

During an interview with special counsel Robert Hur last year, Biden said he was still in contact with the pontiff when discussing some folders labeled “Papal Visits.”

“I’m still in touch with the Pope, you know what I mean. But is it permanent? No. Anyway,” he said in a transcript released by the White House.

“He’s my ticket,” Biden joked during some face-off afterward. “It was a joke,” he replied as the group laughed.

In Puglia, the Pope is expected to have one-on-one meetings with Ukraine’s Vladimir Zelensky, France’s Emmanuel Macron, India’s Narendra Modi, Brazil’s Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Canada’s Justin Trudeau, Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Kenya’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan and William Ruto. Tebbun, according to the Vatican.

While Francis, 87, has said he intends to serve as long as his health allows, there has been some speculation about a potential transition plan for the future. One possible successor is Cardinal Matteo Zuppi, Archbishop of Bologna. Biden met with her last summer in the Oval Office, where they discussed, among other things, the Vatican’s advocacy for the safe return of forcibly deported Ukrainian children.

Biden has known the current pope since 2013, when he chose the nation’s first Catholic vice president to lead the American delegation to Rome for then-President Barack Obama’s inauguration.

The president then recalled that during his first brief meeting with the newly appointed pontiff, Francis hugged him and said, “You are always welcome here.”

In 2015, just three months after Biden’s eldest son Beau died of brain cancer, the pope held a private audience with the president and his family before wrapping up a multi-day trip to Philadelphia.

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By 37ci3

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