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Pope congratulates Joe Biden on winning the US election

President-elect Joe Biden talked with Pope Francis Thursday morning, his transition office announced, making him the latest world leader to ignore President Donald Trump‘s refusal to concede. 

When Biden is sworn in on January 20, 2021, he’ll be the nation’s second Catholic president. The first was another Democrat, President John F. Kennedy. He attends mass in Wilmington, Delaware every week. 

‘The president-elect thanked His Holiness for extending blessings and congratulations and noted his appreciation for His Holiness’ leadership in promoting peace, reconciliation, and the common bonds of humanity around the world,’ a readout of the call read. 

President-elect Joe Biden

Pope Francis

President-elect Joe Biden (left) spoke with Pope Francis (right) Thursday morning. The Pope offered the Democrat his congratulations, making him the latest world figure to ignore President Donald Trump’s refusal to concede the election 

Biden is set to become only the second Catholic U.S. president. The first was fellow Democrat, President John F. Kennedy. Biden attends mass every Sunday at the Brandywine Catholic Church in Wilmington, Delaware

Biden is set to become only the second Catholic U.S. president. The first was fellow Democrat, President John F. Kennedy. Biden attends mass every Sunday at the Brandywine Catholic Church in Wilmington, Delaware 

Pope Francis (left) greets then Vice President Joe Biden (right) at the Vatican in April 2016, before President Donald Trump was elected. Biden's son Hunter (second from right) and son-in-law Howard Krein (center) stand along his side

Pope Francis (left) greets then Vice President Joe Biden (right) at the Vatican in April 2016, before President Donald Trump was elected. Biden’s son Hunter (second from right) and son-in-law Howard Krein (center) stand along his side 

Then Vice President Joe Biden (top) holds the hand of Pope Francis as he enters a joint-session of Congress on September 24, 2015. Biden said in October that Francis' trip to Washington in 2015, including the White House, gave him the sense of 'hope and possibility together'

Then Vice President Joe Biden (top) holds the hand of Pope Francis as he enters a joint-session of Congress on September 24, 2015. Biden said in October that Francis’ trip to Washington in 2015, including the White House, gave him the sense of ‘hope and possibility together’ 

Biden (left) and Pope Francis (right), with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell standind behind them, wave from a balcony at the U.S. Capitol after the Pope addressed a joint-session of Congress in September 2015

Biden (left) and Pope Francis (right), with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell standind behind them, wave from a balcony at the U.S. Capitol after the Pope addressed a joint-session of Congress in September 2015 

Biden ‘expressed his desire to work together on the basis of a shared belief in the dignity and equality of all humankind on issues such as caring for the marginalized and the poor, addressing the crisis of climate change, and welcoming and integrating immigrants and refugees into our communities,’ it also said.   

Biden talked about his relationship with Pope Francis in October when he addressed the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Dinner, doing so from Wilmington’s Queen theater because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. 

The entire event, which also featured President Donald Trump, was virtual this year. 

Biden talked about his first meeting with Pope Francis during the Pope’s 2013 inauguration at the Vatican.

‘When I greeted him he said, “Mr. Vice President you’re always welcome here,”‘ Biden said. ‘He was really sending a message to the world to put out a welcome sign in the front door of our church.’

Biden also mentioned Pope Francis’ trip to the White House in 2015 – when he was in office with President Barack Obama – saying that like his visit to the Vatican in 2013, it gave him the sense of ‘hope and possibility together.’  

‘And for me it came at a very personal moment, a very tough time in the life of my family. Our son Beau had just died a few months earlier,’ Biden said. ‘Pope Francis took the time to meet with my entire family to help us see the light through the darkness.’

He said that his friendship with Pope Francis was proof that ‘anything is possible’ in the U.S.

‘I live in an amazing country, we all live in an amazing country,’ Biden said. ‘Where an Irish-Catholic kid like me from Scranton, Pennsylvania would one day befriend a Jesuit Pope.’

‘But that’s who we are as a country,’ Biden said.  

Biden spoke glowingly of his relationship with the Pope on the heels of Francis refusing to meet with Trump’s Secretary of State Mike Pompeo amid tensions between the administration and the Catholic church over the Vatican’s plans to renew an agreement with the Chinese government on Church operations in that country. 

Trump administration officials have blamed China for the coronavirus coming to the U.S.  

Pompeo was on a two-day trip to Rome where he sat down the Apostolic Palace with his Vatican counterpart, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, and the Vatican foreign minister, Archbishop Paul Gallagher. 

Pope Francis declined to meet with Pompeo to avoid any suggestion of political favoritism ahead of the American election, Vatican officials said.

The pope ‘clearly said that he does not receive political figures ahead of the elections,’ Parolin told reporters. 

Before his visit Pompeo wrote an essay for a conservative magazine and tweeted a link. In it, he suggested the church had hurt its moral authority by working with Chinese officials. ‘The Vatican endangers its moral authority, should it renew the deal,’ the secretary of state wrote. 

Parolin said Pompeo’s essay caused ‘surprise’ at the Vatican. 

On Tuesday, Pompeo joined the list of Trump officials refusing to publicly admit that Biden won last week’s presidential election. 

Asked by a reporter if he would if he would assist with the Trump to Biden transition, he said this: ‘There will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration.’

The comments infuriated diplomats, but Biden just laughed about it when Pompeo’s name came up Tuesday.   

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