After Vatican visit…

Joe Biden says Francis OK’d him for Communion, said he’s a Good Catholic — Vatican won’t comment

[UPDATE 01-NOV-2021 20:34 UTC: Podcast TRADCAST EXPRESS 142 on the fallout of the Francis-Biden meeting:]

[UPDATE 30-OCT-2021 20:09 UTC: Report: Biden to attend “Mass” at St. Peter’s Basilica Sunday Morning]

[UPDATE 30-OCT-2021 18:37 UTC: “President Joe Biden receives Communion at Mass in Rome”]

Roughly two weeks after welcoming Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi at the Vatican, “Pope” Francis (Jorge Bergoglio) today received U.S. resident Joe Biden. The two had an “unprecedentedly long” meeting (see link below) and, judging from photos and some video clips, clearly enjoyed each other’s company.

Here are some initial news stories about the encounter:

Yesterday, the Vatican had surprised the world when it announced that, contrary to the usual custom, it would not provide live video of the meeting and would only provide edited footage to accredited news organizations after the fact. An explanation was not given.

Here is some of the video that is available:

The “Holy See” Press Office released the following statement after the visit:

This morning, Friday 29 October 2021, His Excellency Joseph R. Biden, President of the United States of America, was received in audience by the Holy Father Francis and subsequently met with His Eminence Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by His Excellency Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States.

During the course of the cordial discussions, the Parties focused on the joint commitment to the protection and care of the planet, the healthcare situation and the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as the theme of refugees and assistance to migrants. Reference was also made to the protection of human rights, including freedom of religion and conscience.

Finally, the talks enabled an exchange of views on some matters regarding the current international situation, also in the context of the imminent G20 summit in Rome, and on the promotion of peace in the world through political negotiation.


The English-language version of Vatican News issued only a brief article, linked above, that didn’t really include any additional information.

Before leaving, Biden told Francis an important story about American baseball icon Satchel Paige.

After the meeting, Biden went to meet with Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi in Rome, where journalists asked him some questions about the meeting with the “Pope”. This is where things got interesting, because:

President Joe Biden said the issue of abortion did not come up in his meeting with Pope Francis, but that the pontiff told him he should continue to receive Communion, despite calls from conservatives to deny him the sacrament over his stance.

Speaking to reporters after his 75-minute private audience with the pope, Biden said Francis told him “He was happy I’m a good Catholic” and that he should “keep receiving Communion.”

(Josh Boak, Zeke Miller, and Nicole Winfield, “Biden: Pope told him he should ‘keep receiving communion’”, Crux, Oct. 29, 2021)

This comes on the heels of “Cardinal” Raymond Burke, formerly employed at the Vatican’s supreme court, insisting that “Catholic bishops have a ‘sacred duty’ to apply canon law by advising pro-abortion politicians not to receive Holy Communion”, as a report by Catholic News Agency summarized his 2,800-word statement.

Here are some more news reports about Biden’s explosive remarks:

Matteo Bruni, head of the Vatican Press Office, was contacted immediately for a reaction to Biden’s claim. You can probably guess at the official answer: NO COMMENT.

The Vatican declined to comment Friday on U.S. President Joe Biden’s statement that Pope Francis encouraged him to keep receiving Holy Communion during a private audience.

The Vatican, which has a long-standing policy of not commenting on specific statements attributed to the pope during private meetings, emphasized that the encounter between the two men on Oct. 29 was “a private conversation.”

(“Vatican Declines to Comment on Whether Pope Francis Told Biden to Keep Receiving Communion in ‘Private Conversation’”, National Catholic Register, Oct. 29, 2021)

Bruni’s argumentation is disingenuous. The words exchanged between Biden and Francis might have been part of a private conversation when they were uttered, but now it is a public scandal, since Biden has made the matter public. This means there would now be a moral duty for the Vatican to respond in public — if they cared to abide by Catholic moral theology, that is.

In the past, Biden had stated, likewise in public, that “the Holy Father … gives me Communion”.

Rome Reports has a brief video clip on this latest development:

So… now what? Ladies and gentlemen, let the fun begin!

Ever since the Eugenio Scalfari interviews, we know how this circus works:

  • Person ABC meets with Francis and then relates that Francis said XYZ to him, something that, by the objective standards of traditional Catholicism, reflects negatively on Francis
  • The Vatican will then neither confirm nor deny, preferring to react evasively or not at all
  • Francis himself remains mum while enjoying the show
  • The claim of Person ABC thus goes unrefuted, and unmitigated scandal ensues
  • Conservative Novus Ordo apologists are then asked about the matter. They point out that Person ABC only claims that Francis said XYZ, and we can’t know that that’s actually true. Considering that what is claimed reflects negatively on Francis, any accusations that he actually did say XYZ, because not proven, are therefore unfounded, calumnious, and sinful. In other words, Francis must be given the benefit of the doubt.
  • Meanwhile, Person ABC gets to claim victory because, after all, Francis personally told him XYZ
  • At the same time, however, Novus Ordo apologists also get to claim victory because, after all, we don’t know that Francis actually said that, and since it would reflect negatively on the “Pope”, we have to presume that he didn’t

Then the commentary machine starts rolling: “Abp.” Carlo Maria Vigano, “Bp.” Athanasius Schneider, lower clerics like “Fr.” Gerald Murray, “Fr.” James Altman, or “Fr.” John Zuhsldorf weigh in, as do untold journalists and bloggers. People like Massimo Faggioli and Austen Ivereigh on one side, and Michael Voris and Marco Tosatti on the other.

Rinse and repeat!

We’ve seen it all too many times before. Francis loves to employ this method because it allows him to get a soul-destroying message across and do his damage while nonetheless retaining plausible deniability. It is an infernal method that just works. And if Francis is good at anything, he’s good at getting what he wants.

It’s only at his Particular Judgment that that trick definitely won’t work.

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