Follow Us

Pro-choice Biden not invited to Benedict funeral, Vatican cites deceased's wishes for simplicity

The Church has previously made clear that Biden's pro-choice stance on abortion contrasts with that of the faith.

Published: January 4, 2023 9:23am

Updated: January 5, 2023 11:50am

President Joe Biden was not invited to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI's funeral, which is set for Thursday, sparking speculation about what factored into the decision not to include the president, a Roman Catholic who supports legal abortion. 

The Vatican on Wednesday told Just the News only two countries were invited to send official delegations: Italy and Germany, the latter being Benedict's birthplace.

The Vatican spokesperson also said the small international delegation is in line with the wishes of Benedict — and the Vatican — for a "simple, solemn funeral" and that the U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See Joseph Donnelly will represent his country at the service. 

The Church has previously made clear that Biden's pro-choice stance on abortion contrasts with that of the faith, which opposes abortion in almost all scenarios and makes almost no exceptions for the practice. 

In 2019, while a candidate for the White House, Biden was denied Communion by a South Carolina priest based on his pro-abortion stances.

Shortly afterward, Cardinal Timothy Dolan suggested Biden's stance was reason enough for him to be denied the Eucharist.

"You are publicly at odds with an issue of substance — critical substance," Dolan told Fox News. "We're talking about life and death in the church. You personally, out of integrity should not approach Holy Communion — because that implies that you're in union with all the church beliefs."

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was asked by a reporter on Tuesday about why Biden will not attend the funeral, and gave a response similar to the Vatican's.

"The U.S. ambassador to the Holy See, Joe Donnelly, will represent the United States at the funeral of the Pope in line with the wishes of the late Pope and the Vatican," she said. "This is what their requests were."

Jean-Pierre said Biden is in mourning with other Catholics over Benedict's passing and added that the president highlighted Benedict's "generosity," which made him a pillar of the international faith community.

Tweet URL

The president was directly confronted about the matter on Wednesday outside the White House. "You're not attending his funeral tomorrow though, why?" asked reporter Owen Jensen of Catholic news network EWTN.

"Well, why do you think?" Biden shot back.

"Well, you tell me," Jensen pressed.

"You know why," Biden replied. 

Jensen continued to push for an answer.

"The reason I'm not attending the funeral tomorrow is it would take an entourage of a thousand people to show up," Biden finally said. "We would move everything in the wrong direction." 

Pope Francis has also been critical of Biden's stance on abortion in the past, highlighting that members of the president's Democrat Party are largely in favor of the practice with little regulation. 

"Is it fair to take a human life to solve a problem?" Francis asked during a Univision interview this past summer. "Whatever it is? Is it fair to hire a hit man to eliminate a human life?"

Benedict died on Dec. 31.

Just the News Spotlight