President Joe Biden is wrong on taxpayer funding of abortion and wrong on Pope Francis’ view of it, the president of the U.S. bishops’ conference said Wednesday.

The president suggested Tuesday that neither the pope nor all Catholic bishops oppose public funding for abortion in the United States.

Biden, a Catholic who supports legal and publicly funded abortion, made that assertion in a brief exchange with EWTN’s White House correspondent, Owen Jensen, on the White House lawn. CNA is a news outlet of EWTN News.

You can watch the exchange in the video at the end of this story.

“Catholic bishops are demanding that federal tax dollars not fund abortion,” Jensen shouted over the sound of the rotor blades of the president’s helicopter.

“No, they are not all doing that,” was the president’s retort. “Nor is the pope doing that.”

On Wednesday, Archbishop Timothy Broglio, the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), released a statement contradicting Biden’s comments.

“As we are taught by Jesus, human life is sacred. God calls us to defend and nurture life from the moment a new human being is conceived. The Catholic Church has been clear and consistent in this teaching,” Broglio said. “The Catholic bishops of the United States are united in our commitment to life and will continue to work as one body in Christ to make abortion unthinkable.”

Broglio, who is archbishop of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, also said public funding of abortion undermines the religious freedom of Catholics.

More in US

“Taxpayer funding of abortion would force people of good conscience to participate in this grave evil against their will,” he said.

“It would contradict our right to live in accord with the tenets of our faith. Our nation is better than that,” he continued. “I pray that we will protect every child no matter his or her age, and open our hearts to respond to mothers in need with love and support rather than the violence of abortion.”

Broglio noted that Pope Francis has repeatedly condemned abortion, at one point using a graphic image to do it. In October 2018, during a Wednesday general audience in St. Peter’s Square, the pope likened using an abortion provider to hiring a hitman.

The president’s remarks came five days after the chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities endorsed a bill in Congress that seeks to permanently ban federal funding of abortion.

“The government should never fund the destruction of innocent preborn children. Rather, Congress can better serve the common good by prioritizing policies that comprehensively assist women, children, and families in need in ways that will not only encourage childbirth but make it easier to welcome and raise a new child,” wrote Bishop Michael Burbidge, pro-life committee chairman and bishop of the Diocese of Arlington in northern Virginia, in a letter dated Jan. 27.

(Story continues below)