Biden arrives in Rome for meeting with pope and G20 summit

US President Joe Biden arrived in Rome early Friday for his first reception as president by Pope Francis, on the eve of a two-day G20 summit in the Italian capital.

Biden shares positions on the environment, poverty and pandemic with the pontiff, whom he had met three times as vice president.

The appointment, in the private library of the Apostolic Palace, was set on the eve of the two-day summit in Rome with the Heads of State and Government of the 20 largest economies in the world, the G20.

The American leader will then go to Glasgow (United Kingdom), to participate in the important United Nations COP26 climate summit.

According to a statement from the White House, the head of the Catholic Church and the US president "discuss how to work together on initiatives based on respect for fundamental human dignity, including eliminating the covid 19 pandemic, fighting the climate and compassion for the poor".

It will be a meeting "warm", announced Wednesday its spokesperson, Jen Psaki, who recalled that the president, a fervent Catholic, "found strength in his faith" facing the tragedies of his life: the accidental death of his first wife and daughter and then the death of his son Beau from cancer.

Biden, who travels accompanied by his second wife Jill, almost never misses Sunday mass and his positions on some issues are more akin to the Argentine pope than those of his predecessor Donald Trump.

Despite President Biden being the second Catholic president after John F. Kennedy (1961-1963), the deeply divided American Catholic Church has begun an offensive to deprive political leaders who support abortion of communion, including them the same Biden.

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Abortion, a sensitive topic

Will they address the issue that most divides them, such as the right to abortion? Vatican affairs observers wondered.

The positions are very dissimilar. Pope Francis recently came to brand the voluntary interruption of the pregnancy of "murder", but at the same time he distanced himself from the initiative of the US bishops against politicians who support abortion rights.

"Communion is not a prize for the perfect, communion is a gift, it is a gift", and the one who cannot take communion is the one who "it is not within the community"the pontiff explained in September after being questioned about the matter during the return trip from Slovakia.

Biden will then have to meet with the head of the Italian government, Mario Draghi, the host of the G20 summit and former president of the European Central Bank, who arouses much curiosity in the United States about his reform projects.

Praised by the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the US bank Goldman Sachs, some US media paint him as a new star on the European political scene.

Relaunch the image

For Biden, who has lost popularity since his election, the G20, as well as the great COP26 summit in Glasgow, Scotland, on climate change, are an occasion to relaunch his image and definitively bury the Trump era.

This same Friday he will meet privately in Rome with French President Emmanuel Macron to turn the page on the serious crisis over submarine contracts that occurred in mid-September and seal the reconciliation.

That issue, along with the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan, weighs heavily on Biden’s aura, who repeats that "America is back" on the international scene.


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