US President-elect Joe Biden spoke with Pope Francis on Thursday morning. A press release from the Biden transition team said Biden thanked the pope for his “blessings and congratulations” and offered his own appreciation for for the pope’s work to promote “peace, reconciliation, and the common bonds of humanity around the world.”
The Press Office of the Holy See confirmed for the Catholic Herald that Pope Francis spoke with the President-elect.
The press release, which said its report of the conversation was based on a readout of the telephone conversation, went on to say that President-elect Biden told Pope Francis he hopes they will be able “to work together on the basis of a shared belief in the dignity and equality of all humankind” on a range of issues including climate change, welcoming and integrating immigrants, and caring for the poor and marginalised.
There is a good deal to suggest some significant alignment on some of those issues, but Biden is far apart from Pope Francis and the Catholic Church when it comes to abortion. The President-elect’s policy statements and voting record — Biden is a practicing Catholic — are both irreconcilable with the requirements on public duty the Church places on all those who profess her faith.
Biden made campaign promises to reinstate a host of policies that are not only permissive of abortion, but promote the practice. Pope Francis has compared abortion to “hir[ing] a hitman” and called to fight to end legal abortion the “preeminent” social issue — language he used during a visit with US bishops earlier this year, settling a debate over the question that arose during the bishops’ Fall meeting.
*This story has been updated to include the Holy See Press Office’s confirmation that the call took place.