OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
President Joe Biden, a known supporter of abortion rights, gay marriage, and other things that go against the teachings of the Catholic Church, will not be attending the funeral of the late Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI “in line with the wishes of the late pope and the Vatican.”
The president confirmed this when he spoke to a reporter on Wednesday, though he appeared to be reluctant at first to explain why.
“You’re not attending [Pope Benedict XVI’s] funeral tomorrow, though. Why?” the reporter said.
“Well why do you think?” the president said.
“You tell me,” The reporter pressed.
“You know why.” Biden insisted.
“You can tell me, sir,” the reporter said before the president went on to explain, though it is tough to discern in the video what he is saying.
Q: "You're not attending [Pope Benedict XVI's] funeral tomorrow, though. Why?"
BIDEN: "Well why do you think?
Q: "You tell me."
BIDEN: "You know why."
Q: "You can tell me, sir." pic.twitter.com/cl6kOaAFhX
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) January 4, 2023
President Biden is a Catholic so it is curious as to why he would not be invited, other than the issue of what he supports not being in line with the teachings of the Catholic church.
But looking at White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre’s comments during a press briefing on Tuesday it appears he may have been asked not to attend.
“Pope Benedict — his funeral is Thursday. The late Pope Benedict, his funeral is Thursday. Is the U.S. sending a delegation to Rome, do you know?” a reporter said.
“So, let me just first say — because we haven’t been able to be on the record on this since the passing of the Pope,” the press secretary said.
“So, as the President said in his statement, as I’m sure you saw, he joins Catholics and so many others around the world in mourning the passing of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. He will always remember the Pope’s generosity and meaningful conversation they had when he visited the Vatican in 2011.
“So, to answer your question, the U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See, Joe Donnelly, will represent the United States at the funeral of the Pope, in line with the wishes of the late Pope and the Vatican. This is what — this is what their requests were. This is what their wishes were. And so, that’s what you’re seeing from the U.S.,” she said.
“Following up, what did — I know you read a statement there, but what did Pope Benedict mean to President Biden as a Catholic?” the reporter said.
“Look, you know, the President, as you know, he takes his faith very seriously. This is someone who is passionate about his faith. That’s not something I even need to tell you; you know this for yourself,” the press secretary said.
“And he — again, he — he remembers the Pope’s generosity and his meaningful conversation they had when they visited — when he — when the President visited the Vatican back in 2011. And so, that’s something that the President remembers and holds very close — close to heart,” she said.
Joe Biden will not attend Pope Benedict XVI's funeral, per request of the Vatican. pic.twitter.com/Q7VcYEhnei
— Kevin McMahon (@Kevin__McMahon) January 3, 2023
The president did issue a statement on New year’s Eve regarding the passing of the former pope.
“Jill and I join Catholics around the world, and so many others, in mourning the passing of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. I had the privilege of spending time with Pope Benedict at the Vatican in 2011 and will always remember his generosity and welcome as well as our meaningful conversation. He will be remembered as a renowned theologian, with a lifetime of devotion to the Church, guided by his principles and faith. As he remarked during his 2008 visit to the White House, ‘the need for global solidarity is as urgent as ever, if all people are to live in a way worthy of their dignity.’ May his focus on the ministry of charity continue to be an inspiration to us all,” he said.
The current pope, Pope Francis, also paid tribute to the late pope.
“We are moved as we recall him as such a noble person, so kind and we feel such gratitude in our hearts, gratitude to god for giving him to the church, and to the world,” he said in Saint Peter’s Basilica.
“Gratitude to him for all the good he accomplished and above all for his witness of faith and prayer, especially in these last years of his life. Only God knows the value of his sacrifices for the good of the church,” he said.