President Joe Biden, a self-described “devout Catholic,” will not be attending the funeral of Pope Benedict XVI this week. That comes at the request of the late pontiff as well as the Vatican.
Instead, Washington will only send the U.S. ambassador to the Holy See to represent the nation.
This revelation came Wednesday from White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre. The administration’s mouthpiece announced that Ambassador Joe Donnelly will be there “in line with the wishes of the late Pope and the Vatican.”
EWTN journalist Owen Jensen asked how the U.S. would be represented at the historic funeral. Jean-Pierre added that “this is what their requests were. This is what their wishes were.”
The snub is undoubtedly related to Biden’s staunch pro-abortion stance and the reality that the late Pope Benedict was not fond of the U.S. president.
The two met only once over a decade ago, though Jean-Pierre claimed that Biden was an admirer of the late pope.
In October 2019, Father Robert Morey of the Saint Anthony Catholic Church in Florence, South Carolina, denied communion to the president. He said that “any public figure who advocates for abortion places himself or herself outside of Church teaching.”
Says it all.
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There was also an awkward exchange between Jensen and the president before Biden’s Wednesday visit to Kentucky. The reporter asked the president why he was not attending the late pope’s funeral, to which Biden replied, “Well, why do you think?”
When Jensen asked for clarification, Biden declared “you know why.”
The president explained further that he will not be attending since “it would take an entourage of a thousand people to show up.” He added that the U.S. delegation “would just get in the way” before calling Pope Benedict XVI a “fine man.”
Other heads of state had no such qualms over attending the funeral, which will be presided over by Pope Francis.
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Queen Sofia of Spain, King Philippe of Belgium, Polish President Andrzej Duda, and Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa are all expected to pay their respects in person.
The former pope passed away on Dec. 31 at age 96. He stepped down in 2013 due to failing health and was given the title of Pope Emeritus while being succeeded by Pope Francis.