Media-acclaimed US president-elect Joe Biden said he received blessings and congratulations from Pope Francis and intends to work with the Roman Catholic Church on shared issues like climate change, immigration and social justice.
“The President-elect thanked His Holiness for extending blessings and congratulations,” Biden’s Transition Team tweeted on Thursday, adding that he looks forward to working together with the Pope 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.”
President-elect Biden spoke this morning with His Holiness Pope Francis. https://t.co/om635SC3M9pic.twitter.com/DYuiiphOE0
Matteo Bruni, the Vatican’s press secretary, confirmed on Thursday that a telephone conversation between the pontiff and Biden took place, but gave no further details. Instead, Vatican News quoted extensively from the November 7 letter from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, congratulating Biden as the “second US president to profess the Catholic faith” after John F. Kennedy.
The bishops have faced some backlash over the letter, since the US election is yet to be officially certified and President Donald Trump is currently mounting a series of legal challenges to vote-counting in several states.
Democrats have shrugged off all claims of fraud or irregularities, acting as if Biden’s victory was a done deal and setting up a transition team that has reached out to foreign leaders, among other things.
Regardless of how the US electoral drama turns out in the end, there is no denying a political overlap between the Democrats and Pope Francis, however. Just last month, in his third encyclical, the pontiff denounced free markets and railed against populism, nationalism, war, social-media divisiveness, the death penalty and social injustice. He also called for “open societies that integrate everyone,” and doubled down on his previous views about the benefits of immigration.
Ownership of private property “can only be considered a secondary natural right,” secondary to the “universal destination of the earth’s goods” and the “right of all to their use,” the Pope wrote.
He was criticized, however, for being insufficiently woke and titling the encyclical “Fratelli Tutti” (Brothers All) – a reference to the words of his namesake St. Francis of Assisi – thereby supposedly excluding and offending women.
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