Pope Francis congratulates Biden on election victory in phone call

shutterstock 1747929542 Joe Biden walking with supporters in Iowa, May 25, 2020. | Pix_Arena/Shutterstock

Presumptive President-elect Joe Biden spoke with Pope Francis on Thursday, his office has announced. The Catholic, former vice president, and presumptive next president was congratulated on his electoral victory by the pope on the morning of Nov. 12.

"President-elect Joe Biden spoke this morning with His Holiness Pope Francis. The president-elect thanked His Holiness for extending blessings and congratulations and noted his appreciation for His Holiness' leadership in promoting peace, reconciliation, and the common bonds of humanity around the world," said a release from the Biden-Harris transition team. 

"The president-elect expressed his desire to work together on the basis of shared belief in the dignity and equality of all humankind on issues such as caring for the marginalized and the poor, addressing the crisis of climate change, and welcoming and integrating immigrants and refugees into our communities," said the release. 

Several media outlets declared Biden the victor of the 2020 presidential election on November 7, although President Donald Trump has not yet conceded the race. Biden is the second Catholic to be elected president. 

In a statement issued Nov. 7 by USCCB president Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles, the U.S bishops noted that "we recognize that Joseph R. Biden, Jr., has received enough votes to be elected the 46th President of the United States."

"We congratulate Mr. Biden and acknowledge that he joins the late President John F. Kennedy as the second United States president to profess the Catholic faith," Gomez stated. 

"We also congratulate Sen. Kamala D. Harris of California, who becomes the first woman ever elected as vice president."

Archbishop Gomez also called on all American Catholics "to promote fraternity and mutual trust."

"The American people have spoken in this election. Now is the time for our leaders to come together in a spirit of national unity and to commit themselves to dialogue and compromise for the common good," he said.

As of Thursday, 48 states have been called. Biden presently has 290 electoral votes, well above the 270 needed to win the election. President Trump, however, has not conceded the election. His campaign has filed election-related lawsuits in several states, with the hope of tossing out allegedly-fraudulent ballots and effecting a recount that could put him over the top in the Electoral College.

Although the U.S. bishops' conference congratulated Biden on his victory, the Bishop of Fort Worth, Texas, has called for prayer, saying the vote tallies are not yet official.

"This is still a time for prudence and patience as the results of the presidential election have not been officially authenticated," Bishop Michael Olson said on Nov. 8. He called on Catholics to pray for peace if the results are challenged in court.

"It appears that there will be recourse made in the courts so it is best for us in the meantime to pray for peace in our society and nation and that the integrity of our republic, one nation under God, might be maintained for the common good of all," Bishop Olson stated.

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