Pope and Biden discuss equality, climate change and immigration

President-elect Joe Biden wavs as he leaves The Queen theater, Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020, in Wilmington, Del. (Credit: Carolyn Kaster/AP.)

NEW YORK — According to a press release for the campaign of President-elect Joe Biden, Pope Francis and Biden had a phone conversation Thursday morning where they discussed working together on issues such as equality, climate change and immigration.

“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,” the statement said.

Pope Francis hasn’t publicly congratulated Biden as of Thursday afternoon. In response to a Crux question, Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni confirmed that a call between Francis and Biden took place but did not comment on its contents.

Biden is set to become the second Catholic president in United States history and the first since John F. Kennedy 60 years ago. He was named president-elect by news outlets Saturday after a victory in Pennsylvania put him over the 270 electoral votes needed to win the election.

Equality, climate change and immigration were three prominent issues Biden ran on in the election. His stance in those areas had some Catholic voters calling him more pro-life than President Donald Trump, despite Biden’s pro-choice stance on abortion. Those also three issues of great importance to Francis.

“The president-elect 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,” the statement said.

Francis and Trump met at the Vatican in 2017. The two previously had a well-documented back and forth in the media over Trump’s immigration policy.

As for Biden, he was very open about the importance of his Catholic faith on the campaign trail. He ran on an idea that this election was a “battle for the soul of the nation.” In June, he spoke about his Catholic upbringing as a foundation of the country working towards equality in a Eulogy at George Floyd’s funeral.

On the morning of the election he was spotted attending mass at St. Joseph on the Brandywine in Wilmington, Del., his hometown parish. And in his first speech to the nation as president-elect he referenced his favorite hymn “On Eagle’s Wings,” as a message of solace for the nation.

Though the Pope hasn’t come out with a public statement, many clerics in the United States congratulated Biden on becoming President-elect including Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

“We congratulate Mr. Biden and acknowledge that he joins the late President John F. Kennedy as the second United States president to profess the Catholic faith,” he said in the statement.

The election, however, still isn’t officially decided. The Trump campaign has called for recounts in a number of states, as well as filed lawsuits in some over the vote counting process. If Biden is confirmed as the next president of the United States he will be inaugurated Jan. 20, 2021.

Follow John Lavenburg on Twitter: @johnlavenburg

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