President Biden plans to meet with Pope Francis in Rome later this month, the White House announced Thursday.
Biden, the second Catholic president, often speaks about wanting to meet the progressive pope and will do so on Oct. 29 at the Vatican.
Biden and first lady Jill Biden will “visit Vatican City and have an audience with His Holiness Pope Francis on October 29,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement.
“They will discuss working together on efforts grounded in respect for fundamental human dignity, including ending the COVID-19 pandemic, tackling the climate crisis, and caring for the poor,” Psaki said.
Biden will be in Italy for a G20 summit as part of his second foreign trip as president. He reportedly plans to push for a global minimum tax on businesses during the conference. Biden also plans to attend an anti-global warming summit in Glasgow, Scotland, on Nov. 1-2.
Biden’s meeting with Francis will follow a summit last week between the bishop of Rome and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
The pope, 84, and Pelosi, 81, disregarded COVID-19 precautions customary in the US and met without masks indoors. Biden turns 79 next month.
Francis has swatted at a push by more conservative clerics to deny Communion to politicians who support legal access to abortion.
San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone said in May that Pelosi wasn’t entitled to Communion due to her support of abortion rights and that “she’s respectful enough not to do anything so provocative.”
The pope last month dismissed the sentiment. “The pastor knows what to do. In every moment that he leaves the church’s pastoral path, he immediately becomes a politician,” he said.