President Biden became overcome with emotion Sunday in recalling how Pope Francis comforted his family after the death of the president’s son, Beau, in 2015.
Speaking to reporters after the G20 summit in Rome, Mr. Biden teared up recalling the first time he met Pope Francis, adding that their relationship has brought “great solace” to his life.
“This is a man who has great empathy,” Mr. Biden said. “He is a man that understands part of Christianity is to reach out and forgive. And so I just find my relationship with him one that I personally take great solace in. He is a really, truly genuinely decent man.”
“He is everything I learned about Catholicism from the time I was a kid going from grade school to high school,” he said.
Mr. Biden met Friday with Francis during the first day of the president’s overseas trip, which includes the G20 summit and a United Nations conference on climate change in Glasgow, Scotland.
Mr. Biden said Francis told him that he is “a good Catholic” and should still keep receiving Communion, even though conservative bishops have called for him to be denied the sacrament because of his support for abortion rights.
The president recalled meeting Francis at the Philadelphia International Airport in 2015, just months after Beau had died, adding that the “wounds were still raw.”
Francis had asked to meet Mr. Biden and his extended family. He talked to them for about 10 to 15 minutes, the president recalled Sunday.
“He talked to my family for a considerable amount of time … about my son, Beau,” Mr. Biden said. “And he didn’t just generically talk about him. He knew about him. He knew what he did. He knew who he was. He knew where he went to school.”
“He knew what a man he was, and it had such a cathartic impact on [Beau’s] children, my wife, and our family that it meant a great deal,” Mr. Biden said.
Since Beau’s death, Mr. Biden and Pope Francis have exchanged correspondence, and the president said the pontiff even called him after he won the 2020 election.
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