VATICAN CITY – Joseph R. Biden Jr. is the third US President Francis has met since becoming pope in 2013. Each meeting marked a distinct phase not only of his papacy, but also of political upheaval in the United States. and in his Roman Empire. Catholic Church.
President Barack Obama shared Francis’ global magnetism, celebrity power and focus on immigrants, climate change and the poor. President Donald J. Trump, whose Christianity has been questioned by Francis for his anti-immigrant policies, ushered in a populist era that helped to sideline Francis.
Mr. Biden, a devout Catholic, came at a time when political polarization in America was woven into his Catholic church. And the president and the pope have become common targets of powerful American conservative bishops seeking to undermine them.
Vatican officials and experts said they doubted America’s bishops’ antagonism would manifest in the private audience between Francis and Mr Biden, and would instead speak on issues such as the fight against change climate change, caring for the poor and the end of the pandemic.
Francis is likely to put pressure on the president to speed up the distribution of coronavirus vaccines in the developing world, and he rarely misses the opportunity to speak out against arms trafficking and the consequences of war.
Still, left and right factions will study the meeting for any hint that the Pope is providing political cover to America’s first Catholic President since John F. Kennedy against the culturally conservative warriors in their church.