Now we know why the Pope canceled a live broadcast with Biden on Thursday. When Joe Biden met with the Pope, he uttered a line that is so awkward that it defies belief. Watch:
“You’re the famous African-American baseball player in America.” The fuller context can be watched below:
— Joanna Preston (@JoPrestonTV) October 29, 2021
Biden may have meant it as a joke or it was another slip of the tongue about the gift he handed him, but the Pope laughing shows this is what he said. After a 75 minute meeting. This is not the behavior of a serious person, let alone one of the two ‘most powerful Catholics’ in the world.
The remark happened after they exchanged gifts at their meeting on Thursday. Biden spoke to the pope about Satchel Paige, the trailblazing Black baseball pitcher, and made a joke about their ages, CNN reported.
“How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you were? You’re 65. I’m 60,” Biden said.
During the meeting, Biden gave the pope a presidential challenge coin and called him the ‘most significant warrior for peace I’ve ever met,’ NBC reported.
“I know my son would want me to give this to you,” Biden said, referring to his late son Beau Biden.
The topic of abortion was not discussed during the meeting, Biden told reporters on Friday. The meeting came as U.S. Catholic bishops are debating whether Biden should be denied communion over his views on abortion.
“No, it didn’t,” he said when asked if abortion came up. “We just talked about the fact that he was happy that I was a good Catholic and … keep receiving communion.”
When asked if the pope said he should keep receiving communion, the president replied, “yes.” Biden also said the pope blessed his rosary, but he did not take communion with the pope, the Hill reported.
As reported on Thuesday, the Pope suddenly canceled a live broadcast with the U.S. president without providing an explanation. The Washington Post reported on the odd occurrence:
The Vatican on Thursday abruptly canceled the planned live broadcast of U.S. President Joe Biden meeting Pope Francis, the latest restriction to media coverage of the Holy See.
The Vatican press office provided no explanation for why the live broadcast of Biden’s visit had been trimmed to cover just the arrival of the president’s motorcade in the courtyard of the Apostolic Palace, where a Vatican monsignor will greet him.
Cancelled was any live coverage of Biden actually greeting Francis in the palace Throne Room, as well as the live footage of the two men sitting down to begin their private talks in Francis’ library, at which time the cameras normally would have stopped running.
The Vatican said it would provide edited footage of the encounter after the fact to accredited media.
Did the Pope take one look at the beleaguered U.S. president and decide that it wasn’t worth the risk going live? Was there a personal disagreement? There were no reasons given.
Biden has met Pope Francis three previous time, but this would be his first time as president. Biden is also the second Catholic President, although one would not necessarily have guessed that from his progressive views on abortion and gay marriage.
Editor’s note: This article was updated after publication to provide more context.
OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.