Pope Francis spoke to Joe Biden by phone Thursday to offer “blessings and congratulations” to the US president-elect on his victory, the Democrat’s transition team said in a statement.
The former Vice President Biden (77) is only the second Catholic after John F. Kennedy (1960) to be elected to the US presidency.
“The President-elect thanked His Holiness for the expansion of blessings and congratulations and recognized His Holiness’s leadership in promoting peace, reconciliation and the common bonds of humanity around the world,” said a reading of the appeal from Biden’s office .
Biden “expressed his desire to work together on issues such as caring for the marginalized and poor, managing the climate change crisis, and welcoming and integrating immigrants and refugees, based on a shared belief in the dignity and equality of all humanity. “
During a bitter 2020 campaign against President Donald Trump, Biden quoted Pope John Paul II, frequently invoking his Irish Catholic roots and pledging to “restore the soul of America” after four years of sharpness.
He also regularly wore a rosary belonging to his late son, Beau Biden.
Pope Francis himself had strained relations with Trump. At the beginning of 2019 he called Trump’s wall project on the border between the USA and Mexico “madness”.
When Trump went for the Republican nomination in February 2016, the Pope made waves when he said during a visit to Mexico that someone who is thinking of building walls instead of bridges is “not Christian”.
Trump returned in a stinging statement at the time, saying, “It’s a shame when a religious leader questions a person’s beliefs.”
In 2015, the Pope met with then Vice-President Biden in Washington when Francis gave a speech at a joint congressional session in the US Capitol.
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