Pope Francis, the leader of more than a billion Catholics worldwide, has been making waves in his first months as pope. The latest controversy he waded into was when he said that Catholic priests should be allowed to marry and have children. His comments came amid criticism from US bishops who disagree with him on this issue. Joe Biden, the second Catholic president after Kennedy, met with Pope Francis in Rome yesterday for a private audience where they discussed important issues like climate change and immigration reform. Biden, a potential 2016 presidential candidate, appears to have been moved by his meeting with Pope Francis. Biden spoke to CNN about their meeting and the “blessing” he got from it. In addition, Biden revealed that he wrote a letter to Pope Francis before their meeting in which he shared his personal spiritual views on family and mortality.
Biden’s meeting with Pope Francis comes as he weighs whether to run for president and how it might influence him if he does. However, the timing of the meeting likely influenced Biden more than anything else. CNN reports that: It was a day filled with symbolism – and cross pressure – for Joe Biden. … Early Tuesday morning, he sat down with a man who suggests he would be a better president than Hillary Clinton. That is the same Hillary Clinton for whom Biden has said repeatedly that he would not challenge her in the 2016 Democratic primaries.
CNN continued, Biden appeared struck by his private audience with Pope Francis at Casa Santa Martha, his body language conveying a sense of wonderment. … As the cameras snapped, Biden raised a hand in blessing over his family before returning to a pose with his arms crossed. Biden also made it clear that he was inspired by Pope Francis’s words to be a better man and take more action on the world stage. He said: I just came away feeling [there] was a kindred soul in terms of the way I have felt about my life and about my desire to be of service.
CNN noted that Biden is practicing the art of moral-political diplomacy as he weighs his 2016 plans. While Pope Francis’s words were encouraging, Biden also discovered another spiritual side to him. According to the Associated Press, Biden recalled Pope Francis’s words about how we’re all God’s children and said he hoped to take more of that message home with him. He told reporters: I hope I’m able to live up to that calling.
CNN continued: Ever since the vice president lost his eldest son to a brain tumor in May, he has been asking ‘what would Beau do?’ The vice president’s mother and sister have also encouraged him to run for the highest office in the land. Despite his grieving process over the loss of his son, Biden is still a viable Democratic option for 2016. According to CNN: He is expected to make a decision by late September, according to a close aide. Biden is expected to visit a series of early voting states next month. He has been calling every Democratic donor possible over the past few months.