Pope Francis Calls Joe Biden to Give President-Elect 'Blessings and Congratulations'
Reuters first reported the Biden transition team’s announcement, which said the president-elect and the pope had spoken on the phone.
The pope is the latest among world leaders to congratulate the incoming president on his election victory, as Trump, 74, continues to argue the results without evidence of any widespread election issues.
“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,” Biden’s team said in a statement.
Biden, 77, is set to become the second U.S. president who practices Roman Catholicism once he’s sworn into office in January. President John F. Kennedy became the first Catholic president when he was sworn in back in 1961.
The president-elect has proudly spoken of his faith throughout his career, referencing it during his victory speech this month in Wilmington, Delaware, when he offered solace to COVID-19 victims and recited the refrain to “On Eagle’s Wings,” a prominent Catholic hymn.
Biden and Pope Francis have met a number of times before, including in 2013, when the former vice president traveled to meet the Catholic leader, and then again in 2015 when Biden and President Barack Obama invited the pope to the White House.
According to a readout of their Thursday call, Biden’s team says the president-elect told the pope he’d like to work with the Vatican “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.”
The Vatican had a notably distant relationship with the Trump administration, marked by Pope Francis telling Secretary of State Mike Pompeo he wasn’t welcome to visit in late September because the pope didn’t want to appear to be taking sides in the U.S. political election.
Stateside, the president-elect has also received congratulations form the head of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
“We thank God for the blessings of liberty. The American people have spoken in this election," Archbishop José H. Gomez, the conference president, said in a statement. “Now is the time for our leaders to come together in a spirit of national unity and to commit themselves to dialogue and compromise for the common good.”