How Bad Are the “Biden is a Faithful Catholic” Optics? This Bad

This made me laugh out loud:

Joe Biden’s entourage requested permission for the president to attend Mass with Pope Francis during his European visit, which the Vatican “nixed,” according to a Wednesday report from Catholic News Agency (CNA).

The Vatican’s refusal stemmed from “the impact that Biden receiving Holy Communion from the pope would have on the discussions the USCCB [U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops] is planning to have during their meeting starting Wednesday, June 16,” the report stated, citing an unnamed Vatican source.

Tuesday’s report corrects a prior CNA story alleging that the president would meet with the pope on June 15, which will apparently not occur.

I’ve noted more than once that Francis while having some good points is a bit of a lemon as a Pope compared to the Saints but can you imagine his thinking that it’s not convenient to meet Joe Biden, the 2nd Catholic US president?

Ed Morrissey is a tad skeptical because of the single source and notes this:

This sounds a bit too good/bad to be true, but it’s certainly possible. Biden and his team would loooooove to get some political cover with a papal audience, as would most US presidents, and might even expect it with his own status as a practicing Catholic.

It’s not clear why the Vatican would refuse to even meet with Biden, however. Popes meet with world leaders all the time, even those whose agendas cut significantly against Catholic teachings. Except on abortion, there isn’t that much space between Biden and Francis, just as there wasn’t between Francis and Barack Obama, who had no trouble getting a papal audience when in office. And let’s not forget that Obama had an audience with Pope Benedict XVI in Obama’s first year in office, too. That gives some reason for skepticism about the veracity of this report.

It’s pretty clear why the Holy See wouldn’t want to provide Biden with the optic of Pope Francis offering him communion, however. They wouldn’t want to bigfoot the USCCB on this specific issue, assuming the White House requested this at all:

Francis being Francis and the Vatican being the Vatican Biden will eventually get a meeting but the irony here is palitable.

Why you might think the Vatican knows he’s not really in charge or something.

Personally I think he should meet him, after all admonishing sinners is a spiritual work of mercy.

Update: I think it would be much better if Biden asked if he could meet the Pope for Confession, in fact if I was in charge at the Vatican I’d arrange for the Pope to offer confession to any leader pol etc who met with him privately.