Vatican City, Jun 3, 2011 / 09:00 am America/Denver (CNA).
U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden met with Pope Benedict XVI in an unannounced visit to the Vatican, June 3. Both sides have been tight-lipped as to what was discussed.
“I have no comment. It was a totally private meeting and there will no communiqué,” Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi, S.J., told CNA on June 3.
In fact the meeting wasn’t even listed on the Pope’s daily public schedule. One of the few give-aways was the heavy security surrounding the Port Sant’ Anna entrance to the Vatican all morning. Journalists covering the Pope’s meeting with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas also spotted Biden’s car at the Vatican.
Vice President Biden is in Rome to mark the 150th anniversary of the country’s unification. Although he is a Catholic, Biden has had a troubled relationship with the Church because of his stance on certain issues, such as abortion.
In fact, after gaining the vice presidential nomination in 2008 he was criticized by his own bishop, the late Bishop Michael Saltarelli of Wilmington, for his stance on abortion. Biden was subsequently barred from speaking at events in Catholic schools in the diocese.