Biden pays his respects to late Pope Benedict at the Vatican embassy in Washington after The Holy See restricted number of world leaders who came to the funeral
- President Joe Biden paid his respects to the late Pope Benedict Thursday evening by stopping at the Vatican embassy in Washington, D.C.
- ‘It’s a great honor,’ said Biden, the country’s second Catholic president, to Vatican officials upon his arrival
- Biden was encouraged by the Vatican not to attend the late Pope Emeritus’ Thursday funeral he told reporters Wednesday
President Joe Biden paid his respects to the late Pope Benedict Thursday evening by making an unannounced visit to the Vatican’s embassy in Washington, D.C.
‘It’s a great honor,’ said Biden, the country’s second Catholic president, to Vatican officials upon his arrival. ‘I used to be your neighbor across the street,’ he added.
The Vatican’s Massachusetts Ave. N.W. embassy is located across the street from the Naval Observatory, the official residence of American vice presidents.
The president’s stop at the Apostolic Nunciature of the Holy See, as it’s officially called, lasted about 30 minutes, with him spending about five minutes penning a message in a condolence book for Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.
He had a notecard with him spelling out the message, photographers at the scene captured.
‘Together with Roman Catholics across the United States, I join in mourning the passing of Pope Emeritus Benedict. He was a brilliant scholar and truly Holy Man. I will always cherish our time together at the Vatican when he was Pope discussing Catholic theology. He was a great theologian and I learned much in a few hours,’ Biden wrote. ‘May his soul rest eternally with the Lord.’
Biden was encouraged by the Vatican not to attend the late Pope Emeritus’ Thursday funeral he told reporters Wednesday.
President Joe Biden signs a condolence book Thursday night for the late Pope Benedict, making an unannounced trip to the Vatican embassy in Washington, D.C.
President Joe Biden puts a notecard away after signing a condolence book for the late Pope Benedict Thursday night in Washington
President Joe Biden (right) is welcomed to the Vatican embassy, technically the Apostolic Nunciature of the Holy See, by Archbishop Christophe Pierre (left) Thursday night
President Joe Biden (right) is greeted by Archbishop Christophe Pierre (left) as he arrives to express his condolences for the late Pope Benedict at the Vatican’s diplomatic outpost in D.C.
‘The reason why I’m not attending the funeral tomorrow is because it takes an entourage of 1,000 people, not literally, but we would move everything in the wrong direction,’ Biden explained.
Benedict, who died Saturday at the age 95 after giving up the role of Pope in 2013, had said he had wanted a ‘simple’ funeral.
‘The express request on the part of the emeritus pope is that everything be simple, both with regard to the funeral as well as the other celebrations and gestures during this time of pain,’ Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said, according to the Catholic News Agency.
The Vatican confirmed Monday that only two state delegations, Germany and Italy, were invited to the Thursday affair.
Pope Benedict XVI was born in Germany and lived in Italy for more than 40 years.
Biden said Wednesday that he ‘inquired about it,’ but that other countries were sending their apostolic delegates or ambassadors based in Rome.
‘That’s what we’re going to do,’ he acknowledged.
President Joe Biden told a reporter ‘you know why’ Wednesday when he was asked why he wouldn’t be attending the late Pope Benedict’s funeral on Thursday
When President Joe Biden went to meet with Pope Francis in October 2021 his motorcade was 85 cars long due to COVID-19 restrictions that mandated fewer people to be in each vehicle
The body of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI lies in state at St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican on Wednesday
President Joe Biden (right) recalled his 2011 meeting with Pope Benedict (left) in a statement Saturday expressing his condolences and on the South Lawn Wednesday
At Tuesday’s press briefing, press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters that the U.S. ambassador to the Holy See, Joe Donnelly, would represent the United States.
‘We would just get in the way, but I’ve made my views known,’ Biden continued. ‘Any rate, I think he was a fine man.’
When Biden traveled to Rome and the Vatican City to meet with Pope Francis and G20 leaders in October 2021 he traveled around in a motorcade consisting of 85 vehicles.
The length was in part due to COVID restrictions, which allowed fewer individuals to ride in each car.
Biden met with Pope Benedict in Vatican City in 2011 for an unannounced visit while serving as vice president.
At the time, the Pope chose not to make an example of Biden – the country’s first Catholic vice president – over his support of abortion rights, which is contrary to the church’s teachings.
Biden recalled their meeting in a statement sent out Saturday.
‘I had the privilege of spending time with Pope Benedict at the Vatican in 2011 and will always remember his generosity and welcome as well as our meaningful conversation,’ he said then.
On the South Lawn, Biden recalled his visit with Benedict saying it reminded him ‘of going back to theology class,’ saying they spoke about the Summa Theologica by Thomas Aquinas.
‘I found him to be relaxing, very rational and he was a more conservative view in the Catholic realm than I have. I’m closer to the Pope, the present Pope, in terms of philosophy, his view,’ Biden added. ‘But I admired him. I thought he was a fine man.’
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